You may have heard of Ruth McNally Barshaw, a Michigan author of the cute and sassy character Ellie McDoodle. Ellie finds herself in many situations that any average kids would find themselves in, the difference is that Ellie writes it all down in her journal, which makes her a very inspiring character to young writers like mine.
Back in February we invited Ruth McNally Barshaw to visit our school to share her expertise and process as an author/illustrator. She masterfully created a story with the students. She listened to their ideas, designed characters on the spot and within minutes a story with new characters, problems, solutions and every other story element was born.
There was awe in the air. She also shared all of her different notebooks and how to make a notebook with just paper. She even showed students how to make a notebook out of a cereal box. It made writing and illustrating a tangible and meaningful process. One that anyone can try and practice. Ruth shared some of her latest illustrations for an upcoming picture book and students were amazed at the detail she demonstrated in the pieces. She was also sure to share that there has been a lot of opportunities for growth and that not everything she makes gets published.
In March we were lucky enough to have Ruth come back to visit our family night. We decided to do a “Writing Slam” to celebrate the authors we have right inside our building, all the kids. Students got up and read their stories for the audience, every student had work posted or set up on their desk in the school. Every child was represented in some way with a published piece of work. All genres were present and lots of families were able to see all the hard work their children put in to these pieces.
Here is one example of how work was displayed.
We also decorated our doors to celebrate Ruth’s return and of course reading month!
Ruth delighted us again with her sketches and storytelling as well as a book signing!
We had a great month celebrating not only reading but writing throughout March.
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.