May 15, 2023 -- Students at Indianola Informal K-8 and Olde Orchard Elementary recently got the chance to hear from a New York Times best-selling author.
Lauren Tarshis, the author of the “I Survived” book series, shared her journey of becoming an author, how she researches before writing her next novel, and an inspiring message about how failure and setbacks can be part of the process.
“I hope students were inspired and understand that failure and setbacks are part of the journey,” Tarshis said. “I also wanted to present myself as someone who has gone through a long journey with many things that didn’t necessarily go according to plan because I think that’s encouraging for young children to see failure as part of learning and growing.”
Indianola and Olde Orchard were selected for the visit because they had the highest student-family registrations for the first three Pathway Express events throughout the year. In addition to speaking at the two schools, Tarshis also signed books for the May 13 Pathway Express event at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
“Giving students the opportunity to meet real authors is important for them to see themselves as authors,” said Indianola Principal Brandy Koeth. “Laren Tarshis had a wonderfully engaging presentation and shared her struggles with reading as a child. All the children left excited about reading and writing, knowing that they each have something special to offer the world.”
Writing her books takes a lot of research, Tarshis told students, and she tries to make historical events in her stories relevant to their lives.
“A big part of it is to first off explain things in a way that is comprehensible to kids but not including details that are really frightening while finding vocabulary that they can understand,” she said. “I try to understand where they are in their development and learning and calibrate the books to that but also add a secondary plot, which is a good thing about historical fiction.”
Tarshis also shared personal struggles with reading, inspiring students to keep trying, even if something doesn’t come easy to them.
“I always want to share my struggles as a reader because I feel like hearing that people who are doing things that they admire or appreciate and knowing that it wasn’t an instant process is important,” Tarshis said. “That’s the number one message I wanted to share, and I want to encourage them to see my books as a journey of learning.”