Young authors meet Helen Frost

PLYMOUTH — This week was one of excitement for the students of Lincoln Junior High School — as well as surrounding schools in the county.
The students at LJHS decorated the library and hallway with handmade banners decorated with milkweed and monarch butterflies to greet guest author and speaker Helen Frost, who currently lives in Fort Wayne and has written numerous books for both children and young adults. She writes poetry and prose as well as fiction and nonfiction. Frost was the featured author for the 26th Annual Young Authors Conference which was held at Lincoln Junior High Monday evening.
The event was organized by the Marshall County Reading Council and volunteers from the host school. This year, 10 elementary schools and one junior high school from Marshall County participated in the event. Each year, participating schools encouraged their students to write a story or poem. Then, the top two authors from each school are selected to receive an award.
Frost met with the participating young authors and their parents in the library of LJHS at 5:30 p.m. for an intimate time of pink lemonade with cookies and a special book signing session.
This year’s participants shared a wide variety of stories. First grader Mackenzie Wentz from LaVille wrote about a lost dog in “The Missing Husky.”
LJHS winner Lucero Carmona wrote a story about mysterious blue footprints that are found at a school in Alaska. Lucerno said that the Helen Frost book she wanted to read was a book titled “Keeshia.”
Another LJHS winner, Alexandra Jeffirs wrote a haunting poem about an ancient castle in Scotland called “Mystery at Dunfyvie.” Scotland was also the setting for Triton fourth grader Samantha Edington. Frost told the young authors that she was impressed with their writing skills and she felt that she was looking at the next generation of authors. Each participant who came to the conference received a free book, compliments of Frost.
Janessa Salazar, assistant editor-in-chief of the LJHS newspaper Red Storm Times, interviewed Frost at the private signing.
Salazar said, “Researching Frost’s background for the school paper made me want to read Frost’s books.”
Mary Jackson, Argos School librarian — and Helen Frost fan — said that Frost’s books were very popular at Argos and that students were always asking to check them out. Jackson feels that “Frost’s rhyme schemes are impressive.” Frost will be appearing at the Argos Community Schools Tuesday.
At 6 p.m. last night, about 200 people — including parents and students — went to the auditorium where awards were presented and the 22 outstanding authors were recognized.
Frost then gave a presentation based on two of her books, “Monarch and Milkweeds” — a child’s illustrated book about butterflies — and “Diamond Willow” — a teen book about a young Alaskan girl.
She spoke about her writing process. Frost believes a good writer must be a keen observer. Frost’s motto is, “Live attentively and write quietly.” She also said that the two most important words to starting a book are, “What if….”
After the presentation, Frost had a second book signing for those in attendance.
The 22 students who were recognized for their talent at the conference are: Argos Elementary — Hanna Hurford, Cloey Wright; Culver Elementary — Matthew Cole, David Thompson; Jefferson Elementary — Madeline Petrucelli, Madison Stiles; Webster Elementary — Austin Kizer, Sydney Richer; Riverside Intermediate — Jessica Drury, Cameron Mullins; Triton Elementary — Hanna Hooley, Ryan Snyder; Bremen Elementary — Jessie Yelaska, Alex Houk; Menominee Elementary — Graham Barger, Donald Saxon; St. Michael Catholic School — Sophie Michi, Cory Andrzejewski; LaVille Elementary — Blane Langley, Amy Whitaker; Lincoln Junior High — Lucero Carmona, Alexandra Jeffirs.
The Pilot News will continue publishing the young authors’ work as space permits through the week. Already published were Saturday, March 12, Hannah Hurford, Cloey Wright, Amy Whitaker and Blane Langley; and Monday, March 14, Jessie Yelaska and Alexis Houk.