Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Academy Awards of Literature

Today I had a wonderful time at Watertown-Mayer Middle School in Watertown, Minnesota. I was invited to present writing workshops to groups of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders and these students were engaged and excited as they put words on paper. The school in Watertown is beautiful and after lunch we shifted to the auditorium, which is a stunning space. I gave a presentation to all the middle school students about the process of creating books and the importance of reading.

After that, the real fun began. A number of students competed in the Academy Awards of Literature, movie categories for books.  
Best Cinematographer-Illustrator
Best Screenplay-Scene in a Book
Best Director-Author
Best Actress-Female Character
Best Actor-Male Character
Best Picture-All Around Book
Students had chosen their favorite books, picked one of these categories, and made displays that stood on shelves in the library. These were creative and interesting and reflected the interests of the students. I walked around the room studying them and taking pictures.

Many of the students and teachers dressed formally for the awards ceremony, and when the winners and runner ups were announced for best displays in the various categories, the students came onto the stage and were presented with their prizes.

The event was so cool that I was surprised I'd never heard about it. Have any of you taken part in a similar program? What a creative way to get students talking about books and looking at them in new ways. And how sharp the students looked in their formal wear. Huge thanks and congratulations to Naomi Stelzer, Karen Veches, Jon Anderson, and all the teachers and students at Watertown-Mayer Middle School for such a fun time.

So even though I have a deadline of the end of the month on revisions on my next book, I was thrilled and energized to spend time with these students today. The variety of my days is one of the aspects of this life I value most, and being invited to come to interesting schools is a great reward.


Christy said...

This sounds really cool. My daughter is an 8th grader and I can imagine she would love something like this (at least dressing up like a celeb).

betsy woods said...


I might like to borrow this idea. I'd imagine that the students would adore it. Thanks for your insight.
fellow potato
Betsy . . .

Edie Hemingway said...

I love the idea of the Academy Awards for Literature!

Stephanie said...

Such a great idea, and how fun you got to see it:)

Lauren said...

What a great idea John! Years ago I was an artist-in-resident at Watertown Mayer elementary, long before I had published a book. It was a strong school then and it sounds like it has only grown stronger!

Naomi Stelzer said...

We were very happy to have John Coy at our awards show! It was a great day. If you would like some information please check out our school's website: http://www.wm.k12.mn.us/se3bin/clientgenie.cgi

If it doesn't bring you directly to the page, click on school, then Middle School, then MS Activities, and finally Academy Awards.