WEST ORANGE, NJ — Third-grade students at Washington Elementary School were excited to Skype with popular children’s author Lauren Tarshis on Jan. 24. Tarshis is the author of the Scholastic “I Survived” children’s book series.
“The kids at Washington School have told me their favorite ‘I Survived’ books are ‘I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912,’ and ‘I Survived the American Revolution, 1776,’” Washington library media specialist Marisa Mitterman said. “The kids seem to love all things Titanic, and I can’t seem to keep any book about the Titanic on the shelves for long. They seem to be curious about what life was like on the ship for the different class passengers and how some passengers were able to survive the disaster while others were not so lucky.”
Earlier this year the students took a Scholastic virtual field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
“The kids got to see Lauren Tarshis interact with the museum curators and saw some primary source documents and artifacts from the time period – it was great to be able to explore the museum from the Library Media Center,” Mitterman said.
Tarshis Skyped from her office at Scholastic and students read prepared questions. Much research goes into the “I Survived” book series and Tarshis is also involved in the Scholastic “Storyworks” articles and stories.
Tarshis clearly loves what she does, though described the process of deadlines and research as being difficult. When writing and researching she rises at 4:30 a.m. to work on her book series and then heads to the Scholastic offices.
“I love talking to students like yourselves and it inspires me to know that you like my books,” Tarshis said.
She shared that as a child she struggled to learn how to read and process the words, and to this day must read everything two or three times, make notes, highlight and underline to completely grasp what she is reading. She even confessed to getting over her fear of snakes and incorporating a snake into each of her “I Survived” books.
Following the Skype, the third-grade teachers chatted with students, who are looking forward to the next “I Survived” book, now in process.
“I think the author Skype session went very well and hopefully we will continue to have more at Washington School in the future,” Mitterman said.
Photos Courtesy of WOSD