HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is an accomplished author of fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, including the popular Purrmaids series. As part of the Hess Education Complex’s continuing program of author visits, she was invited to speak to second and third grade students of the school on Friday, February 7.
Bardhan-Quallen, a Princeton resident, speaks to young students in fifteen to twenty schools a year. “I like to talk to them about writing, inspiration and the whole process of publishing a book,” she said.
As with each author visit, the school’s library staff conducted a contest for the students with the winners getting an opportunity to have lunch with the writer.
“We read the book Chicks Rule! with 3rd graders,” Hess Librarian Rachel Husta said. “In the story, all the chicks have unique personalities and talents. When Rocket Chick wants to join the rocket club and the sign on the door says "no chicks allowed", her friends use those talents to help Rocket Chick make her own rocket to fly into space. The students were given an outline of a child and asked to think about what makes them unique, what their special talent is, or what they want to be when they grow up. They then decorated the outline of the child to show that talent or career and described it at the bottom.”
Twenty-six winners were selected who then got to share pizza and salad with Bardhan-Quallen.
“When we have an author visit, we make a point to spend time showing students the books the author has written and sharing some of those books with them during library class,” Husta said. Their language arts teachers are also provided with one of the author's books to read aloud in class. The students are excited to check out the author's books from the library and are very familiar with the author's work by the day of the visit.”
“I think both the teachers and students enjoyed Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen's visit. She made a point to explain how everyone has stories to tell and you can find them in your everyday life with your friends and family. She also made sure the students understood that it takes many drafts and revisions to create a final version of a book and encouraged them to always work to improve their writing. Afterward, I had teachers tell me they really enjoyed her presentation and that she was very funny and engaging. One teacher even said she inspired her to begin writing. Ultimately, I think it's beneficial for students to see the real people who are the creators of the books they love, to hear their personal stories, and learn that writing is something that they could do as well.”
The Hamilton Township PTA partially funds two annual author visits. The remainder is provided by funds raised from the support of the students and community through the school’s two annual book fairs.