Author to students: Use your imagination
By Rosalie Currier - firstname.lastname@example.org
"You look like Santa Claus," bold Wall Elementary School students told Jeffery Schatzer Tuesday as they shook his hand in the school library.
It's hardly the first time Schatzer has heard that from children, especially during the holidays when he takes on extra work in that very role.
But Schatzer's day job isn't filling gigs Santa can't make, it's being a children's author.
He was a guest Tuesday at Wall's "author day" which promotes reading and writing.
A Michigan resident, Schatzer is author of more than a half-dozen children's books in both the picture book and chapter book markets.
"Is it hard to write books?" a second-grader asked Schatzer.
"It's fun," he said. "When I was your age, I didn't want to grow up and have to work."
So Schatzer became an author, which he says is too much fun to qualify as work. However, sometimes it does take a long time to write a story, he said.
Chapter books, including the series "Professor Tuesday's Awesome Adventures in History," require research, which Schatzer also says is "fun."
"Because learning is fun," he told the children.
Schatzer's latest installment, "Professor Tuesday's Awesome Adventures in History: The Underground Railroad" even comes close to home. It's a historical tale exploring the western route of the underground railroad. The final chapter takes place in Sturgis.
Schatzer encouraged each student to find fun ways to tell their own stories.
Write stories about what you love to do, Schatzer told the students. For example, as Halloween nears, students might write about what scares them or what makes them laugh.
He encouraged students to do a little research, too.
"What was life like when your parents or grandparents were little?" Schatzer asked the class. "I don't know," several responded.
"So ask them and then write about it," he said.