Gordon Korman Inspires Students
“Each one of you is a potential character,” author Gordon Korman said to the Meadow Pond students. He spoke to third, fourth and fifth graders about where the ideas for his 102 (and counting) middle grade novels come from. To their surprise, his inspiration included visits to schools like theirs!
The author visit was arranged for by Meadow Pond PTO’s Enrichment Committee to coincide with the school’s Book Fair. Korman's inspiring experiences as a teen-age novelist and his ingredients for story development also supported the fiction writing the students are doing with their teachers in class.
Students loved hearing about Korman’s improbably plots, including a teacher that might be a robot powered by artificial intelligence, two students whose memories seem to be swapped, and friends who discover an abandoned bomb shelter in the woods.
The award-winning author used those examples to highlight the three essential elements of his writing process: real experiences, asking “what if” and research.
Beyond the stories in his books, Korman had a more personal story to tell—how he wrote his first published book in seventh grade!
“My middle school had the track coach teach my seventh grade English class,” Korman told the students. Because the coach didn’t know how to teach English, he told the students to work on whatever they wanted for the rest of the year. “That was in February!” said Korman, still incredulous.
The assignment drew Korman to his life’s work. The book he wrote that year was published by Scholastic by the time he was in high school.
“I’m not the age of my characters anymore,” said Korman, adding that he noticed how students greeted each other and how the library was set up at Meadow Pond. These details just might end up in one of his books.