A recent presentation by Kevin Kurtz had students at Chestnut Ridge Elementary School mesmerized with tales of hungry anglerfish, vampire squid and glow-in-the-dark jellyfish.
The Rochester children’s author and educator spent the day sharing his stories with children in grades K-4 at the Churchville-Chili school.
Chestnut Ridge has long hosted visiting authors, according to library media specialist Colleen Wilson.
“The students love making the connection between what they read and how the books are actually conceived and created,” she said. “They want to know why the author chooses the topic, what is involved in researching and planning a book, and how the book is written and illustrated. Having the author here takes their enjoyment of reading to a whole new level of understanding.”
Kurtz’s nonfiction books for young people include “A Day in the Deep,” which uses rhyming verses and pictures to explore life in the oceans. In between presentations and Q&As, he offered a writing clinic to third- and fourth-graders that introduced them to his creative process and invited them to write original short stories about a topic they picked: polar bears.
“Our readers and writers were extremely enthusiastic, and that was the goal,” Wilson said. “Inspiring children to read and create their own stories is why we do this. We are very grateful to authors like Kevin who encourage kids to explore their world through books.”