GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE
Award-winning author Eric Walters speaks to students at Stratford and District Christian School
Eric Walters speaks to students at Stratford and District Christian School Monday morning. For more on the author’s presentations to the school’s students,
Author Eric Walters is a busy man
With around 500 school visits in a year, 10 new books set to be released in the next few years, meetings with editors and publishers, and finding time to write on top of all that, Walters’ daily schedule is often rather tight.
Yet regardless of everything else he had to do Monday, the teacher-turned-young-adult-writer took the entire morning to give students at the Stratford and District Christian School (SDCS) an inside look into the research and realworld experiences that go into each and every one of his books.
“You’ve got to talk about more than just books. You’ve got to talk about concepts and ideals, principles, values. So I discuss a lot of things that are unrelated to my books, but related to who we are. I have a platform and I need to advocate through that platform,” Walters said.
“… Books are bibliotherapy. They give people a chance to see other people, a different perspective, and how to see from another’s point of view. They make you a rounded, more full human being – a true human being.”
Splitting the morning into two presentations – one for students from kindergarten to Grade 3, and the other for grades 4 through 8 – Walters told the kids gathered in the gymnasium how he first started writing to instil a love of reading in his own students. He explained how real people, like his Grade 5 teacher Chistena Gay and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have helped him develop his characters, and how experiences like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and volunteering at the Rolling Hills Residence orphanage in Kenya helped inform his stories.
“My favourite book that I’ve written is always the one that I’m writing,” Walters told students after his second presentation.
Throughout his talks, Walters highlighted what it means to be Canadian, traits of which include generosity of spirit, a kind heart, a willingness to take care of one another, as well as people from around the world, and standing up for what is right.
Walters’ visit was the kickoff event for the school’s Literacy Week, during which staff and students participate in events and activities focused around reading, including a book exchange and a literary character dress-up day. The students are also taking part in a fundraising campaign to raise money for adult literacy programs in Haiti.
“(Eric) really made his books come alive,” said Heidi Flikkema, the Grade 5/6 teacher at SDCS who organized Literacy Week. “He connected on a variety of levels with different types of students –maybe students who wouldn’t be as engaged in reading, but had their interest piqued and may want to read some of his books.” email@example.com
Author Eric Walters was at the Stratford and District Christian School Monday morning to kick off the school's Literacy Week.