As part of Black History Month celebrations at GSB, children's book author Rita Williams-Garcia virtually visited grades fourth through sixth on Tuesday to talk about her career and inspire budding writers. A New York Times bestselling author, Ms. Williams-Garcia has penned 12 young adult and middle-grade novels, with her latest release titled Gone Crazy in Alabama.
Fifth grader Ryan Dicks '28 enjoyed the discussion with Ms. Williams-Garcia and shared his take-aways: "She sold her first story to Highlights at 14. When she's frustrated by a story, she does boxing. Her advice is to be readers and be open to the world and curious."
The event was made possible through a partnership with the Somerset County Library System (SCLS), which supports area schools with complimentary programming initiatives. "This was a spectacular opportunity for our students," said Lower and Middle School Librarian Lia Carruthers. "We're most grateful for SCLS's generosity and the chance for our students to dialogue directly with Ms. Williams-Garcia."
What impressed Sophia Corrado '28 about the award-wining writer? "I learned that it was different for her as a child living in New York City because she wasn't allowed to play outside," said Sophia. "In kindergarten, instead of drawing, she liked to write stories. Her first book, Blue Tights, is about accepting yourself."
Despite some technical issues due to the snowstorm, the visit engaged students and empowered them to learn. "It was amazing that GSB students could all tune in virtually to this wonderful presentation on a remote learning day," said MS English Teacher Zoe Tuohy. "Ms. Williams-Garcia's advice was great – 'Go out and be discoverers of the world.' She instructed students to find out what they haven't yet experienced and write about it."
Readers interested in checking out Ms. Williams-Garcia's books can contact Ms. Carruthers. The novel, One Crazy Summer, is a fifth grade read-aloud and book group pick. For those interested in obtaining a SCLS card, follow this link for an application. This is the first time SCLS cards can be obtained online, and all GSB students are eligible to receive one.