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Area author reads at Quil Ceda Elementary
TULALIP — Area author Bonny Beckler gave the students of Quil Ceda Elementary a chance to ask a professional writer how she creates children’s books, when she appeared at their school March 18 to read “A Visitor for Bear.”
Beckler has written 12 books and she told the students that she’d wanted to be a writer “ever since I was a kid, as young as you.” Beckler showed the students a photo of herself as a grade-school girl and recalled growing up with four sisters, one brother “and 20 rooms in our house with thousands of books.” To show the students how far she’s come as a writer, she shared with them her first “book,” a school essay.
“There were only 10 words in it and four of those were misspelled,” Beckler said. “Nobody is born knowing how to read or write. We all have to learn, just like you are now in school.”
Beckler explained how a children’s picture book is put together by showing the students different drafts of her book, “The Christmas Crocodile,” in which the artwork of the crocodile took on a more distinct personality with each draft from her illustrator.
“It took me 10 years to write this,” Beckler said. “Of course, that wasn’t all I was doing during those 10 years. I would write drafts and then put them in a drawer for a while. You can get your ideas for stories from things that happen in real life. When I was a kid, I wanted a puppy for Christmas, but my mom said no. When I woke up on Christmas morning, though, there was a wiener dog. So I thought, ‘What would it be like if it was a crocodile?’ What’s funny is, when I first wrote this story, I didn’t really know what the crocodile looked like, until the artist drew the character.”
Beckler read aloud from “The Quiet Way Home,” which invited students to guess the source of the sounds that a grandfather and his granddaughter hear while walking home from her school, and “A Visitor For Bear,” in which a bear who doesn’t like visitors in his home is won over by the persistence of an intruding mouse.
“I’ve done children’s literature for 20 years,” Beckler said. “Before that, I worked in journalism and marketing. If my writing has a message, it’s that the world is an okay place, if you open yourself up to it.”
Randi Krumm, librarian for Quil Ceda Elementary, praised Beckler’s positive influence on children.
“It always enhances children’s reading and writing experiences when they see who’s behind the stories they enjoy,” Krumm said. “Anything they can learn about the process makes it more meaningful.”