To begin the week, we had an exciting author visit from Lisa Graff! On Monday, May 3rd, students from grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 logged onto a ZOOM webinar with Ms. Bafaro and Lisa Graff. Ms. Bafaro had read Lisa Graff’s books to her classes, such as Absolutely Almost, The Thing About Georgie, and Lost in The Sun.
Lisa told us a little about herself. When Lisa was a kid, she liked many things, such as pizza, puzzles, ice cream, and eavesdropping. Two things she hated were reading and writing. For her 9th birthday, Lisa got a Babysitters Club book. Lisa loved it so much that she read it from start to finish in two days. This wasn’t ordinary, because she was a slow reader. Lisa asked her mom for more and more books and finished the Babysitters Club series in record time! By then, Lisa had realized that she loved reading, and the rest is history.
During the author visit, Lisa talked about her books, A Tangle of Knots and A Clatter of Jars. A Tangle of Knots is a book about people with special talents. Eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan, who lives at the Lost Luggage Emporium with her adopted father, Toby. Her special talent is baking the perfect cake for any person. A Clatter of Jars is about a girl named Lily who goes to a camp for people who have enhanced special talents. In the book, everyone has a special talent. When people randomly begin to gain or lose memories, Lily and her friends decide that it’s up to them to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Lisa’s inspiration for her own books came from many places. When asked, the author said that her inspiration for the book The Thing About Georgie came from the feeling of being different. Another one of her books, Umbrella Summer, was actually inspired by Lisa’s own experiences as a child. When she was about the main character Annie’s age, her own brother got sick. Unlike Annie, Lisa’s brother recovered, but she says she drew from the emotions she felt from that time.
During the visit, Lisa dropped a few things she likes to remember when writing. She said that, in her mind, rewriting is like a puzzle, because you have to move stuff, take stuff out, and add stuff to get the final product. (“Stuff” was her word.) A second piece of advice she shared was a sort of ‘formula’ for writing: Book = Eavesdropping + Art + Puzzles – Boring. And the last little piece of advice we gathered from her presentation was that books can begin with something as easy as a ‘What If’ question. Any scenario can turn into a book, just beginning with ‘What If.’
Our visit with Lisa Graff was very fun and taught everyone what it’s like to be an author. It was a “novel” way to spend the morning, and we hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!
Chloe Lopes Fitzgerald and Leyli Shakeri-Rad