Somers Author’s Day Tradition Continues into 20th Year

Author Peter Lourie talks to students about multimedia journalism and the first time he took his daughter camping. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Author Robert Skead gives students an interactive history quiz. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Author Sarah Albee tells students how her writing career began with writing letters to famous people, such as the Queen of England. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

SOMERS, N.Y. - Author Sara Albee began writing in second grade. She told the students at Somers Intermediate School about the time she wrote a letter to the Queen of England in crayon and received one in return.

“I started writing letters to everyone,” she said. “I thought to myself: ‘This crayon has power.’”

After a pause she turned to students and said, “My crayon has power and yours does, too.”

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Now immersed in a writing career, Albee shared her humble beginnings with an audience of fourth graders during the school’s annual Author’s Day on Friday, May 13.

For retired SIS teacher Kay Staplin, who created Author’s Day 20 years ago, the speech was a reminder of why she wanted such a day for SIS students to begin with. It’s a day where students have the opportunity to listen to and meet with some of the most successful children’s authors in the business.

“It is one of the most inspiring and amazing things I’ve been involved in with the children, teaching staff and administration here at SIS,” she said. “I think its life-changing for children to sit and listen to authors and illustrators and say ‘hey I could do that.’”

In addition to Albee, this year’s guests included Robert Skead, an author of historical fiction, and Peter Lourie a non-fiction writer and photojournalist. The day included a breakfast and lunch with the authors, presentations by the authors, an autograph session and an interactive workshop about the writing process.

“Our students love the library and love reading books,” said Ken Behling, co-chair of the Author’s Day Committee and SIS librarian and media specialist. “We hope the day continues to inspire budding authors and illustrators.”

Co-chair of the Author’s Day Committee Carol Haber-Cohen said the school continues the tradition because of the proven positive effect on students. She said students return years later and recall the day, some even return as guest authors and cite the day as the root of their inspiration.

Haber-Cohen and Behling thanked the school community for the support, particularly noting the efforts of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, whose members come together to make the day possible.

Haber-Cohen said she believes the longevity of the event speaks for itself in terms of the benefits the SIS community gets from the day and Staplin agrees.

“I hope SIS Author’s Day continues forever because it’s a legacy for everyone who goes through here that that’s a part of their education,” she said. “The best investment that you can ever make for the next generation is something like SIS Author’s Day. It’s something to inspire them.”

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