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Children's Literature Festival Trip

Mrs. Foust, myself, and 14 fifth graders traveled to Warrensburg, Missouri to attend the University of Central Missouri Children's Literature Festival. Each year we take our fifth grade readers who have made it into the MT Challenge Cycle. A big thank you goes out to our fifth grade teachers for supporting the MT program and our PTA for supporting the trip financially!
We saw four great authors and learned something about writing from each one.

Roland Smith shared his usual fabulous presentation focusing on the fact that anyone can be a have to be passionate about your topic and you have to up for a lot of revisions. He also talked about his new series, IQ. Many of the kids have read the first book in this series (Independence Hall) and were thrilled to hear the second book should be out next spring. To learn more about Roland Smith and the books he writes, visit his website at

Lea Wait was the next author we visited. She talked briefly about her books (Worth and The Finest Kind)and then went right into questions from the kids. It was a bit difficult to keep the kids' attention with this format. To read more about Ms. Wait please visit her website at

Gloria Skurzynski blew the kids and adults away. She had a very informative PowerPoint on the Mysteries in our National Park series she writes with her daughter. She noted that in each book, an issue involving an animal from each park is highlighted. You could tell she was passionate about animals and doing all she could to protect them. She also shared a new non fiction book she has written about the space program. Read more about her at Some older readers may like the Virtual War Chronicles series she is writing.

Elisa Carbone was our last author of the day. She read from one of her books, had actual artifacts from her research locations that she let the kids pass around, and shared what she has learned about history from her research. The kids found it interesting that while researching Ms. Carbone reenacted what the characters may have been doing during the time period they lived. She really engaged the kids and encouraged them to become writers. Learn more at

What our kids learned:
  • It takes longer to research a book than it takes to write a book.
  • Writing is revision!
  • You should write about what is important to you.
  • Go to the library to research.
  • Use a story board to "map" out your book.
  • Authors will not tell you their favorite book that they have written:)
  • Write a sloppy copy first.


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