The Day Eddie Met the Author By


November 07, 2001|By Louise Borden

The Day Eddie Met the Author By Louise Borden

Editor's note: A third-grader gets writing tips from a professional.

Tuesday was going to be a great day for Eddie and his class. It was the day a real author was coming to Riverside Elementary School.

Eddie had been waiting, waiting, waiting ... The whole school had been waiting. Especially Eddie's teacher, Mrs. Morrow. She loved real authors. She loved how real authors made the words flow, and how the words sounded just right, and went with pictures in their own way.

Mrs. Morrow said she couldn't live without books and the wonderful stories in them. She said third graders had their own stories to tell: "We are all authors with important stories inside us."

Eddie chewed on his pencil and thought hard. How could his stories ever be like a real author's?

Eddie had been reading, reading, reading ... His whole class had been reading. Ten different books by the author who was coming to visit. In every one of those books, Eddie found a part that seemed just for him. Everyone in the class found their own parts in the books, too.

"How does the author do that?" Eddie asked Mrs. Morrow one morning as the bell rang for recess.

"That's a great question, Eddie," his teacher said.

"You'll have to ask her when she comes."

At last! The big day!

All morning, Eddie waited for his class to go to the assembly in the gym. He watched the minutes on the wall clock tick-ticking by.

Finally Ms. Kindel's polite voice came over the school intercom: "Grades two and three are to go to the gym now ... "

Eddie folded up his question and put it in his pocket on the way to the author assembly.

Mrs. Morrow led her class into the gym.

There was the real author! Eddie checked out the author from head to foot. He thought real authors would look different from everybody else. This author just looked like a teacher or a mom. The author was wearing a vest that was a patchwork of pictures from some of her books. Eddie looked to find his favorite one - there it was!

Everyone was ready to listen, and the author began:

"I can tell you've all had your noses in my books ... I've been reading your wonderful writing in the school hallways, and seen your terrific illustrations. Some of you may be wondering how to become a writer. The best way to become a writer is to be a reader ... "

Eddie was a reader ... The author was talking about him!

The minutes of the assembly zoomed by. Eddie never wanted it to end. Today he felt like a real writer.

Finally it was time for questions and answers. Eddie put his hand up, fast as lightning, but there were other hands in front of him and behind him, and on both sides. Everyone wanted the author to call on them.

"How long have you been a writer?"

"How old are you?"

"Have you autographed our books yet?"

"Which book is your favorite book?"

"Do you ever run out of ideas?"

"Which book was the hardest to write?"

"How old are your kids?"

No one asked the question that Eddie wanted answered: How do you write books that have parts meant for me?

Slowly Eddie folded up his question and put it back in his pocket. Suddenly he felt a grown-up's hand on his shoulder. It was the author! She was standing right next to Eddie in the third-grade line, asking him his name. Then she said: "I saw your hand up in the assembly, waving a yellow paper. I knew you had an important question to ask ... but we ran out of time ... "

The third graders began to crowd around Eddie and the author.

Everyone was quiet while the author put her hand on her chin and thought about Eddie's question.

Then the author said: "Eddie, if you write about parts of yourself, I bet your reader will have some of those parts, too. I guess that's a small answer to the big question you asked."

Eddie looked at Mrs. Morrow and gave her a wide smile. Now maybe his stories could be like the author's. And he would try to write from his heart.

Excerpted from the book THE DAY EDDIE MET THE AUTHOR. Text copyright M-) 2001 by Louise Borden, illustrations copyright M-) 2001 by Adam Gustavson. Reprinted by permission of Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. All rights reserved.

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