Jennifer A. Nielsen visited my school on December 4th, 2018, and today her newest book comes out (Deceiver’s Heart, Traitor’s Game #2!!!!), so I thought today would be the best day to share about the amazing experience she brought to my school and the superb person she is!
Jennifer was kind enough to have a very packed day with us! She did an assembly for each grade level where she shared that the secret to being a writer is asking questions:
- Do you have stories? Do you have dreams? If you have dreams, your brain is creating a story. Are you curious? You can be a writer.
- Writers do these things: Collect stupid facts but don’t collect stupid. Ask Questions. Gain knowledge. They write. They work to get better. They keep trying.
- There are two types of people: One who says they are good enough. You’ll be passed by people who won’t quit until it’s great.
She also gave us a sneak peek of the Resistance book trailer that went live the next week!
Every group of students (at over 375 each) were captivated by her stories, her humor, and her truth.
During each grade level’s lunch period, she also was kind enough to eat lunch with students who had read two or more of her books. During this time, they could get their books signed and ask exclusive questions.
This lunchtime experience was so inspiring to these students! They still talk about what she shared and (as you’ll see in the last photo below) they helped write a quite hilarious story with her that was cracking everyone up:
- Story in her head is like an itch that she can’t reach. She is happiest when she is writing because she is reaching the itch.
- Story is everywhere. Everyone carries story with them. Just ask questions and tell the story.
- She starts a story with the character in action. Helps the reader and writer get into the character’s head and puts the character into immediate trouble.
- When she was younger, she didn’t know writing was a choice for something you could do.
Then Jennifer even stayed with us for the evening for another quick presentation, book signing, and cross-curricular events that tied her book into all the subjects.
All in all, the visit was life-changing for our HCMS students.
After the visit, I had my students write letters sharing how the event affected them:
- Thank you so much! You have made a great impact on my life. I have never liked writing but your story about when you were in 6th grade made me realize that I can do what I put my mind to do. -Olivia M, 6th grade
- I love reading your books because when I read your books it is so good that I read for hours without stopping. When I found out you were coming I got excited because I wanted to find out more about the author who wrote my favorite books. You taught me never to give up and to keep going for my dream no matter how long it takes. Your books have inspired me to create my own book and to be a writer in the future. -Jacob K, 6th grade
- The things you said during your visit made me realize I’ll never get better if I don’t try. -Georgia B, 6th grade
- I loved your assembly. Your stories were hilarious and you inspired me to write down my ideas. -Emily B, 7th grade
- Thank you so much for visiting us. It was amazing and super fun. Your presentations were incredible and I loved the stories you told. They were sad but so interesting. Your tips for writing were so helpful and I plan on taking them to heart whenever I write. Your encouragement was inspiring. “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it. (Benjamin Mee)” -Duda V, 7th grade
- Your books are amazing, the plot twists were breath-taking, and your books are meaningful and are powerful. -Molly N, 7th grade
- I’m a huge fan of your books and it was a dream come true to meet you! I enjoyed making a story with you during my lunch time, and I will always remember your visit. -Mariana S, 8th grade
- If you were here to inspire, you hit it on the dot. -Julia R, 8th grade
- Thank you for not quitting and showing us that just because you fail once, or twice, or even hundreds of times, we should keep on trying. -Lorenza M, 8th grade
- Everything that you said just inspired me to do something that would forever make the world better. -Jordan K, 7th grade
- Thank you for all the words of wisdom and encouragement to write, and for that I’ll always be grateful. -Monika A, 7th grade
- You are such a beautiful soul, and I am in denial that I had the chance to meet someone like you. -Amy C, 7th grade
- You were right – stories are everywhere!.. You are funny and kind, and I love how you add little bits of yourself into your books. -Maelynn A, 7th grade
And I’ll end with this beautiful work. My friend, who teaches 8th grade ELA, had her students do a 6 word reflection with a visual to summarize either how they felt or what they learned:
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for coming to HCMS and inspiring my students in ways that are life-changing!