Jacqui Nickell
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On Tuesday, March 25, acclaimed Scholastic author Elly Swartz visited Lakehill Preparatory School. Organized by the Parent Faculty Club Book Fair Committee, Swartz spoke with students in grades four through six, inspiring the writers and illustrators of the future by sharing her own experiences as a writer.
After being introduced by two sixth grade students, Harper Kuhn and Paulette Maney, Ms. Swartz was interviewed by two fourth grade reporters, Anniston Barrett and Andres Vann.
Ms. Swartz shared her journey as a writer and the 15-year process of getting her original idea to a book on a shelf. Students were invited to ask questions, and were treated to the first chapter from the advanced reader copy of Give and Take, her new book coming out in October.
While she loved writing in fourth grade, Ms. Swartz confessed that she was not a good writer. She shared her philosophy: "The thing you are passionate about does not have to be the same thing you are good at today."
She specifically remembers when she decided she wanted to be a writer: after reading Mick Harte Was Here with her children, laughing and crying and and experiencing the full range of emotions. She loves being a writer, and connecting with her readers, learning what her stories mean to them. Developing a connection with her readers is important to Swartz, and she values the time she can spend in schools and with readers.
Ms. Swartz explained that the ideas for stories can come from anywhere - the dinner table or a yoga class - and encourages budding writers to write down their ideas. She spends a lot of time with the characters in her stories, getting to know them, their likes and dislikes, before she writes about them.
Ms. Swartz's advice for young writers is to read voraciously and to write about the things that matter to them. She encourages students to just keep writing and not to worry about what others think of their work. "I love writing more than I fear rejection," she explained.
After answering questions, Ms. Swartz signed copies of her books Smart Cookie and Finding Perfect.
By Anniston Barrett and Andres Vann, fourth grade

About Lakehill Preparatory School

Lakehill Preparatory School is an independent, co-educational college preparatory school for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Our challenging and nurturing educational community, supported by passionate faculty, inspires students to be independent thinkers and collaborative problem-solvers. Athletics, the arts, and a wealth of student activities and organizations promote teamwork and help develop valuable leadership skills. Lakehill is a special place where students realize their intellectual, physical, and creative potential while recognizing their responsibilities as members of their community.

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