Student writers shine at Sunny Hills Elementary’s Young Authors Night

May 15, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Jenaya Ray, 7, flips through her book ‘The Unicorns’ Magical Powers,’ which she also illustrated. By Lillian Tucker

The outside campus of Sunny Hills Elementary School was crawling with smiling, chatty students, hopped up on ice cream, pizza and the pleasure of being at school with friends and not having to hurry to class.

Inside the gym, students dug through piles of their classmates’ writings and searched displays for their own work to show off to their families.

It was Young Authors Night May 10 at the elementary school. And, while the title might provoke images of a group quietly listening to one student read out loud, the event was a social flurry.

“The kids really look forward to it,” Principal Sarah White said.

In the days leading up to the event, she said the students were very excited having their work put on display.

“It’s just fun talking to the kids about their writing,” she said. “They are so proud of it.”

Around the room, tables and displays were set up to showcase at least one piece of writing from each student. Pieces included essays by the fifth-graders, imaginative tales about dragons and magic, poetry and story quilts.

“It’s really amazing reading their stories,” White said. “They have a lot to say.”

“I like it because you get to write freely … I write in my free time, whenever I can,” 9-year-old Vanessa Tang said.

The third-grade student said she likes reading her stories to her little sisters. Seven-year-old Mia and 5-year-old Hanna huddled close as their sister Vanessa looked for the book she wrote about the legend of why bees buzz.

“I was thinking of an animal book and then I thought of bees for some reason,” Vanessa said.

In her book, the bees keep stinging the animals and getting away with it because they are so quiet. The goose and the raven decide to fix the situation by putting a noisy spell on the bees so that they would buzz.

At the first grade table, 7-year-old Jenaya Ray showed her dad and younger brother her illustrated book, “The Unicorns’ Magical Powers.” It tells the story of how three unicorns stop a hungry dragon from eating them. To avoid becoming lunch, the three use their magical powers to turn the dragon into a vegetarian.

Jenaya’s father said his daughter has been a self-proclaimed vegetarian for a year. Every night, he said, they make two different meals to accommodate her choice.

“I just thought of some of my favorite things and created them,” Jenaya said. “Writing is hard work at first but once you get used to it you’re right on track.”

“It’s just to get kids excited about writing for an authentic audience,” White said.

The principal explained that preparing for the event helps the students go through all of the steps to develop their pieces for an audience.

She said the Young Authors Night also gives parents a chance to see the progression of a child’s work. The kindergarten table features folders of writing samples from throughout the year.

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