MARQUETTE — Nearly 900 4th and 5th graders from the Marquette–Alger area took over Jamrich Hall on Northern Michigan University’s campus today.
The Young Authors program started 40 years ago by a group of teachers to encourage writing. Once a relatively small event, Young Authors has grown to include over 3,000 students. Throughout the day, students go through various activities including a book share and a special event that allows for interactive exercises.
“It’s really just neat to see a conference layout during the week, to see all the work we’ve done, to see the kids here, showing their books off,” said Young Authors Co-Director Andrea Kleinpaste, “they bring their own books that they wrote and illustrated and they’re so proud of their books and they get to share it with other classes and just seeing the excitement for these kids all day.”
Students also get a special presentation from a featured author. This year’s guest of honor was Jerry Pallotta, who was making his second appearance at the event. Pallotta, who has over ninety titles to his name, started writing after his wife encouraged him to read to his children. Thirty years later and Pallotta still has the energy to inspire children.
“As a guy who never had an author visit his school, I think it’s really great,” said Featured Author Jerry Pallotta, “I never thought of writing until I was 32 years old. So if a kid is 7 years old, he could say ‘Hey, I want to be a writer.’ I have a cousin, in third grade a helicopter pilot visited his school and in third grade he said ‘I’m going to fly helicopters,’ and he does, he flies helicopters for the Coast Guard. So I figure some third grader saw me talk and said ‘I want to be a writer.'”
Pallotta is famous for his non–fiction alphabet books and his newest series, Who Would Win.
The event will continue through Thursday.