Author Tom Birdseye visited Goodman and South Elementary Schools last week.

Students were able to learn about the background of Birdseye, including how difficult it was form him to start out being a writer.

"It was such a difficult process for me when I was a kid; I can really identify with the reluctant writer in school today. Everything seemed to get in the way of my completing stories: from being left-handed, to my poor spelling skills, from punctuation woes, to especially a lack of ideas,” Birdseye said. “Fortunately, the right people came along at the right time and helped me see past the hurdles, emphasizing instead the joy of the work and the satisfaction to be had in trying to uncover the important truths that can come out of fiction.”

The students also got to ask Birdseye questions about being an author and advice he had for them about their writing. The students said that the hardest part of writing was coming up with ideas and editing their work.  

Tom gave them tips on how to brainstorm by jotting down ideas and keeping them in a drawer to come back to later.  

He also showed them how he edits his work. Using a white board, he walked the students through how to take a simple sentence like, she ate lunch and make it into a better, more vivid sentence.  

Their final sentence ended up being, “Molly devoured nineteen slices of cheese pizza for lunch.” They took that sentence and expanded upon it more with Tom asking the students questions to develop a great story by the time they left the question and answer session of the day.

Some other questions they asked were: “What is the most challenging part about writing?”

“Where do you get the ideas for your stories?”

“How do your books represent you?”

“Have you ever been bullied?”

“Did your siblings inspire you to write?”

Elementary librarian Julia Fehring said it was great to see the students discuss writing and its process with a professional who uses those skills in everyday work.

“This made the students see the real life picture of how the things they are taught in school can really be useful as an adult,” she said.