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Author Mike Knudson Visits Ashley (October, 2007)

Mike Knudson speaks at AshleyUp and coming author, Mike Knudson, visited with Ashley Elementary’s third, fourth, and fifth grade students on Wednesday, September 26.  Mr. Knudson, the author of Raymond and Graham Rule the School, as well as several other books in the series, has signed with Penguin Books Publishing Company.

Each teacher was given a copy of his first book to read aloud to the students before his visit.  Mr. Knudson visited with the students about the writing process he used while creating his books.  During the presentation, Mike started with the theme, or the main message the author wants to come across.  Since many of the ideas in the books are sparked from real life school adventures, Mr. Knudson and his partner Steve Wilkinson decided to use the theme, “Life doesn’t always turn out like you expect.”

Using an over-head projector, Knudson demonstrated how he used pictures to brainstorm the events that would be included in the story.  After brainstorming different episodes from the story, students tried to guess if they were true or fictionalized events.  Knudson explained to the students that fictional events were added to increase the fear and embarrassment of the characters, two emotions he loves to use in his writing.

To demonstrate that revising does not have to be boring, Knudson used a scene from his latest book, Raymond and Graham Dancing Dudes.  He began having the shortest boy,  and girl stand up.  Then, he asked if the crowd would like to see them dance.  After having the girl sit down, he had the tallest girl come up to dance, and the crowd laughed.  Finally, he had a teacher come up to be the dancer, and the crowd laughed harder.  To their relief, eventually the volunteers got to sit down, without having to really dance.  Knudson had shown the students that each time he reads through the story he tries to make it better.

After his visit Mr. Knudson signed books for students and even drew a picture to donate to the library.  Every student was given a copy of the art work from the presentation, with permission from Mr. Knudson.  Students were excited about the books and ready to check out the other Raymond and Graham books from the library.