Authors of the children's book series "The Magic Treehouse" dropped by for a special visit at Nishuane Elementary School this week.
Mary Pope Osborne and her sister Natalie Pope Boyce, authors of the children's books, were welcomed by excited students on Monday who asked them questions about their writing.
"The kids really treated them like rock stars!" said Wendy Lacey, co-chair of the School Action Team.
Osborne writes the fiction books in the series and Boyce writes the partner nonfiction "Magic Treehouse Fact Trackers."
The Nishuane School Action Team for Partnership’s Literacy Committee arranged the visit and other events to coincide with the National Education Association’s Read Across America event on Friday, March 1.
Osborne encouraged the students to use their imagination in their play and in their writing. She told stories about her own childhood and how inventing stories led her to be a writer. She encouraged them to research subjects that interest them as she and her sister do for each "Magic Treehouse" adventure that siblings Jack and Annie take.
"Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce were delightful and engaging guests," said Lacey. "The visit really inspired the children to be enthusiastic about using their imagination and writing skills.
Upcoming books include “Hurry Up Houdini” and the nonfiction partner book will include magic tricks for kids to learn.
Osborne also asked the students to vote on some potential new topics she might write about, such as World Cup Soccer, the Mayan civilization or Christopher Columbus.
Osborne has worked with her book editor Mallory Loehr, a Nishuane parent, for the past 23 years at Random House Books for Young readers. Osborne told the children how collaborative their relationship has been and advised them to listen to their teachers for help on improving their own drafts of stories even if it means a number of rewrites.
“Seeing the look on each child's face as they watched the original 'Jack and Annie' creators bring to life their stories was amazing. This experience is something that will travel with them far into the future and make their reading and writing even more meaningful.” said Jenna Fragale, a second-grade teacher.
Principal Gail Clarke presented Osborne with the ceremonial first penny to place in the jar to start the annual Pennies For Pages reading drive where students earn a penny for each book read. All proceeds are given to the Montclair Public Library at the end of the program each year.
To further support teachers and students in under-served schools, Osborne created and funds the “Magic Treehouse Classroom Adventures Program.” She donates her books and provides matching lesson plans created by teachers to meet the common core standards.
While no feature films have been made about Jack and Annie’s adventures, the traveling show "Magic Treehouse: The Musical" is on tour. For more information, go to http://www.mthmusical.com/#/the-music.