A group of Neary fifth graders, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the school cafeteria earlier this week, listened with interest as Newbery Award winning author/illustrator Grace Lin told them about growing up as the only Asian child in her upstate New York school, and the stories that were inspired by her experiences.
Lin’s talk was one of several Neary students enjoyed during the school’s annual Book Week, an event that has been taking place now for a remarkable 24 years. During Book Week, students hear from a range of authors, illustrators, and storytellers who share the process and inspiration that goes into creating their work.
Organizer Ellen Faherty said Neary’s Book Week event is a unique one. “The authors are always surprised when they come here,” she said. “Most schools have one author in for a day. We do a whole week.”
Showing pictures of herself and her siblings as children, Lin shared stories of her youth and explained how they were translated into her novels. She read passages from her book The Year of the Dog, and talked about characters derived from her real life. She showed the notebook she carries with her at all times to capture the inspiration around her, and encouraged the students to do the same.
Book Week is made possible thanks to the Southborough Organization of Schools (www.southborough-sos.com). “SOS is so supportive of this week,” Faherty said. “It’s really great.”
In addition to Lin, students also heard from authors Sarah L. Thomson and Jarrett Krosoczka, and storyteller Ryan Racette.