November 29, 2014

Grant provides author visit to Sterling Elementary

“I call the process of writing creating magic.”

Tim Barnum
Students' hands shot up when Johnathan Rand asked them who has read "Where the Wild Things Are."
Tim Barnum
Johnathan Rand, far right, shows (left to right) Haley Powell, Ashley Wilson, Jake Plachta and Dale Ives the correct way to do an evil laugh.
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By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STERLING — A $1,000 grant courtesy of Prairie Farms, a dairy producer, provided an entertaining hour for Sterling Elementary students as the funds floated money for a visit from author Johnathan Rand on April 17.

Rand, the author of the American Chillers series, the Michigan Chillers series and Freddie Fernortner Fearless First Grader, spoke in the school’s media center, telling students about his time working on radio, writing his first scary book, visits to other schools, taught students how to do an evil laugh and shared some secrets about reading and writing.

“Reading is not something you do. Reading is some place that you go,” Rand told the students as a secret of reading. “Books don’t have covers, they have doors.”

“I call the process of writing creating magic.”

But Rand didn’t just provide students with insight on English language skills. Some parts of his speech to the Sterling Elementary kids were good old-fashioned jokes and one-liners.

“I loved writing stories about Martians and it drove my sister crazy,” he said, adding all his early stories used to involve Martians invading Earth and immediately flattening his sister.

“All the books in the Chillers series are true stories,” Rand also joked.

Getting funds to pay for Rand’s visit required almost no work on the end of Sterling Elementary, says Prairie Farms sales representative out of Traverse City, Steve London.

“We had a contest at the start of the school year,” London said, adding the contest on pfkids.com, Prairie Farms’ Web site that is geared towards children and includes educational games, provided five schools with a $1,000 grant. “All they (schools) had to do was go to the Web site and log on. That’s all they had to do.

“They (Sterling Elementary) took that $1,000 and booked Johnathan Rand. … It was a neat thing to be a part of.”

London added the winning schools were drawn at random and that schools from 17 different states applied for the grants.

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