Sixth-grade student Kai Bjerke took a turn asking author “Avi” a question during the Skype conversation that the Middle Age students had with him.
Sixth-grade student Kai Bjerke took a turn asking author “Avi” a question during the Skype conversation that the Middle Age students had with him.
Connecting students with authors of books that they see on the library shelves makes the books more real to them. The Spring Grove School Media Center has hosted several award-winning authors at the school to talk to the students and inspire them.

Recently, the students were able to speak with and interact with another award winning author, "Avi". This time the interaction was through a Skype connection, making it easier for the author and more affordable for the school.

"Being able to talk to an author truly affects the students," remarked Bev Nelson, Spring Grove school media generalist.

"When they are able to interact with an author that person becomes very real to them and not just a name on a book. It really energizes the students and engages them with the books."

Avi lives in Denver, Colo., and has written 73 books for children and young adults. His books have been awarded the Newbery Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Newbery Honor, the Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award and more.

"Writing is hard for me," Avi said during the Skype conversation with the fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. "I've never met a writer who said that it was easy. Sometimes, I have to write and rewrite a book about 70 times to make it as good as possible."

The students collectively uttered remarks of surprise when hearing this about his writing process.

Students had submitted questions to their classroom teachers prior to the Skype conversation. Because of the large number of students, they all were not able to each ask Avi a question.

Students whose questions were chosen formed a line and one by one asked their questions.

"The students were all so well behaved as they listened to what Avi had to say," added Nelson with a smile. "He had many good things to say to the students that I think it will inspire them to read even more."

When asked if he had a favorite book, Avi replied, "The one that I'm working on. Trying to pick just one is like trying to say which of my six kids is my favorite; some clean their rooms better than the others, but I still can't pick a favorite!"

The students chuckled when he made the comment about the rooms; they felt connected to him because they could understand that comment.

One student asked Avi how he makes his stories come alive, because she wants to be a writer.

He explained, "The best thing you can do now is read, read, read and read some more. When you're done with that - read, read, read. And when you're done with that - read, read, read. Once you have done lots of reading, you will have a better sense of how to write."

Will Avi every stop being a writer? "Probably not; I'll keep writing as long as you keep wanting to read them!"