Award-winning authors to visit area schools, library this month

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 13, 2016

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ROCHESTER — Community members of all ages will come face to face with nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators this month as part of the Authors in April program.

Founded in 1984 by a small group of local community leaders, Authors in April Inc. coordinates the Rochester-area Authors in April program — which is now a yearlong effort on the part of Rochester Community Schools and private school parents, educators and the Rochester Hills Public Library to bring highly regarded children’s authors to all of the community’s elementary and middle school students.

The program, according to organizers, was created to encourage students to become lifelong readers, improve their own creative writing ability, and develop greater appreciation, understanding and discernment for quality literature and art.

Authors in April Treasurer Sandy Rosonke said the program is designed to make authors and illustrators more approachable to children by presenting them as real people with an attainable job — things that kids could definitely strive to get into.

“(We want to show kids) that authors and illustrators have a profession that kids could explore,” she said. “It’s really just to foster the love of reading and writing and drawing within the community.”

The Rochester-based Authors in April program, now in its 33rd year, is the only program of its size and scope in the country, according to organizers.

This year, four authors will visit with students and community members April 18-22.

Author/illustrator David LaRochelle will visit kindergarten and first-grade students, author Sara Pennypacker will meet with second- and third-grade students, author Kate Messner will visit fourth- and fifth-grade students, and author Margi Preus will meet with middle school students in Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township.

“Each author and illustrator brings their own techniques into it that they share with the kids, so our illustrators will often show them how to draw a particular figure, or the authors will share their process for writing and generating story ideas, developing characters and editing — which is really important — with the kids,” Rosonke explained.

In all, Rosonke said the authors will speak to well over 10,000 students during their visit, and combined they will sign approximately 10,000 books.

The authors will be celebrated during an Authors in April benefit dinner, open to high school students and adults, that will be held April 18 at the Royal Park Hotel. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a book sale and signing, and a cash bar. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by authors’ remarks at 8 p.m. Seating is limited. For ticket information, visit www.authorsinapril.org.

The public is also invited to a book signing event 4-6 p.m. April 20 at the Rochester Hills Public Library. During the Authors in April Autograph Party, LaRochelle, Pennypacker, Messner and Preus will sign autographs, take photos with fans and answer questions. Books will be available for purchase in the library’s lobby, and no registration is needed to attend the event.

“The Rochester Hills Public Library is proud to be able to offer the Authors in April Autograph Party. I believe that by making these authors accessible we can encourage children to be lifelong readers, help them improve their own creative writing ability and develop a greater appreciation for quality literature,” Library Director Christine Lind Hage said in a statement.

To learn more about Authors in April, visit www.authorsinapril.org.

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