DAVISVILLE - West Virginia author Anna Egan Smucker visited Kanawha Elementary School Friday to share her love of writing and congratulate students on achieving their reading goals.
Smucker, the author of six books, including children's books "No Star Nights" and "Golden Delicious: A Cinderella Apple Story," spoke to students during the school's Accelerated Reader Celebration.
Smucker, who has worked with Kanawha Elementary students and teachers as an author-in-residency, said spending face-to-face time with children is important for local authors.
West Virginia author Anna Egan Smucker speaks to a group of Kanawha Elementary School students.
"It is important, especially for us here in West Virginia, to value our stories," she said.
Smucker wrote her first book, "No Star Nights," about her time growing up in Weirton, W.Va., after meeting with and being encouraged by a children's author.
"At that time there were no children's books about growing up in a steel mill town," she said. "Meeting a West Virginia author was what made me feel like my story was worth telling."
Photos by Michael Erb
West Virginia author Anna Egan Smucker speaks to a group of Kanawha Elementary School students Friday during the school’s Accelerated Reader Celebration.
Her latest book, "Golden Delicious," tells the true story of the discovery of the Golden Delicious apple in Clay County.
"I read the story to the students and then talk about the process," she said, noting she went through 27 drafts before finishing the book. "I did a ton of research and that required a ton of revising. Neither I nor my illustrator got it right the first time."
Smucker said she hopes to use her writing as a way to empower students to tell their own stories.
Wood County Schools Curriculum Director Judy Johnson said visits from West Virginia authors such as Smucker inspire students to both read and write.
"We always try to encourage pride in students' writing and to inspire them," Johnson said. "It not only encourages them to do their own writing, but also gets them interested in things the authors have written and encourages them to do more reading."
Kanawha Principal Mike DeRose said literacy and a love of reading are the foundation of education.
"Reading and writing basics are so important for the 21st century learner," he said. "Having wonderful role models like Mrs. Smucker to come in and work with children makes them feel important and motivates them to read and write more."
Smucker said she also seeks to encourage families to spend more time reading to children.
"I was read aloud to as a child, and because of that I became a reader," she said. "Being a reader made me want to become a writer. Good writers are always active readers."
For more information on Smucker and her books, visit www.annasmucker.com.