Sixth-grade students at Lynbrook South Middle School received a visit from author Jen Calonita on March 2, as a culminating end to the school’s Book Bash, a reading contest for sixth-graders to encourage a love of reading. Calonita is the author of a number of books including the Fairy Tale Reform School series and the new book “Turn It Up.”
Sixth-graders gathered to hear Calonita speak about her life, career and writing process, including ways to create a successful story. Through photographs, Calonita told students about that start of her writing career which included interviewing celebrities for Teen People magazine. Her aspiration was to one day write a book and with determination and hard work, Calonita had her first book, “Secrets of My Hollywood Life” published. Calonita also spotlighted some of her book covers and explained how editor’s decide on what should be featured. She awarded those who asked her questions by giving away bookmarks and audiobooks of her stories.
At the end of the presentation, Calonita met and signed autographs for students. She then visited the school library where the winners of the Book Bash contest were gathered for a special lunch with the author. Winners were selected by library media specialist Jennifer Wasielesky and English teacher Susan DeSena and were determined by how many books each student read during a six-week period.
The intimate lunch allowed students to ask Calonita more questions and dig deeper into the life of a successful author. The group discussed the revision and editing process and how to find story inspiration. Two lucky students also received books from Calonita and everyone had their books signed by the author.
“It was a big inspiration to have Ms. Calonita here,” said sixth-grader Madeline Malinka. “I have an author to look up to and now I have a better idea of what life would be like as a writer.”