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Thursday October 6, 2016 at 10:05am Age: 2 yrs
Category: District, Intermediate


Ear-piercing laughter escaped out of the intermediate school auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 4, as children’s author Alan St. Jean weaved storytelling and comedy to inspire students in grades 3-5 to read and write.


Using multi-media and mixing instruction with hilarious and outrageous images often involving animals, St. Jean introduced and demonstrated the elements of storytelling: idea/concept, character development, conflict/mystery, and resolution. Through familiar stories and characters, and his own books, he invited students to identify the presence or absence of these elements. “What element is missing from Humpty-Dumpty?” he asked. “What do we know about him?” Nothing. Humpty-Dumpty lacks character.


Students also had a chance to question the author. “Did you have someone like Aidan in your childhood?” third grader Gavin asked, referring to the hero of St. Jean’s acclaimed Aidan of Oren trilogy.


As Minisink students were quick to note, not all stories have happy endings, and St. Jean demonstrated how one same idea can develop into a world of stories. “With writing, the secret is to get started. It might seem wacky at first, but eventually is starts to take shape,” he said.


For aspiring authors in the audience, St. Jean told the story of his long, bumpy road to publication, and offered his best advice: “Be your characters. Feel what they feel. Get your feelings out.”


This was Mr. St. Jean’s third, voluntary visit to Minisink Valley.


Other works by Alan St. Jean include Big Fella, Spooky Mooky and The Legend of OinkADoodleMoo. His works are also produced in music and video.