As you know, this is Ottawa's first ever Teen Author Week. There are lots of free events being put on in libraries around the city to promote reading and writing for teens.
Tonight, Kenneth Oppel was in town. He is the author of many books, including the Silverwing series (great books about a bat named Shade), the Airborn series (set in airships) and a brand new novel called Half Brother (an only child gets a chimp as a little brother).
Jeffrey arrived with his mom and little brother and I ran into them in the parking lot. We found seats in the front row and enjoyed a GREAT show! Ken Oppel was entertaining and engaging. The audience gathered in the theatre at the Nepean Centrepointe Library was in the palm of his hand.
Mr. Oppel told us about his writing process, his inspiration and read to us from Half Brother. The book is both hilarious and heart-warming. I wish you all could have been there tonight, he was inspring. I was amazed by the amount of reserach he does before he even starts writing. He becomes an expert on a topic and makes book after book of notes before the story itself begins. He showed us photos of his many, many book drafts. Together, one book makes up a pile about the height of my two-year old nephew, Andy! His earliest editors are his two oldest children, to whom he reads aloud and gauges their attention and interest. Mr. Oppel rewrites his book four times before sending it to his three international English language publishers. Editors at each of the three offices (in London, Toronto and New York) send back tons of notes and he takes those into consideration before writing his final draft.
Jeffrey bravely asked the final question of the evening. Mr. Oppel had showed us a photo of his inspiration board (a bulletin board full of images in his office) for his new book, it was like a display of Flair! There were a few old maps, a photo of a strange looking bird and a photo of a bright blue fish. We tried to make inferences based on our observations. I thought maybe he was writing about mutations of some kind. Jeffrey asked Mr. Oppel what the book was about and he answered! Now, we have a sneak preview of the book that will be coming out next fall. Ask Jeffrey if you want to know about it. I was incorrect in my guess, but it's way cooler than what I thought of. Perhaps, he'll even write a blog post about it!
At the very end, Mr. Oppel offered to sign autographs and gave everyone a bookmark (that he had promised us at the beginning of his presentation!). There was a huge line of fans waiting to meet their favourite author. When we met him, he signed our books (he signed mine, "To Miss Pollock") and we snapped a quick photo.
I have several of Mr. Oppel's books in the classroom and I strongly recommend them to all of you. Now that it is the Read-A-Thon, you should think about checking out one or more of his books. Tyler has already devoured Half Brother.
It was a wonderful evening, and I hope you all think about attending some of the other events this week, and I hope this becomes an annual event.