New York Times Best Selling Author Captivates BMS Station Students

Barrington 220 News
November 10, 2014

As interesting as the characters he creates, Mr. Grabenstein warmed up the crowd by showing a picture of him in a class photo when he was about the same age as the students in the audience at the Barrington Middle School Station library.

He captured the children’s attention from the first minute asking them to identify him in the photo. Sharing details on his school age self’s bad haircut made him easily likable and entertaining.

Mr. Grabenstein spoke about what led him to write for a living, including the support from teachers he had along the way. Having had a successful career writing commercials, he learned the art of quickly seizing an audience’s attention. He also met best-selling author James Patterson who was also writing commercials at the time. The two have co-authored six books targeted at children & teen audiences.

Mr. Grabenstein also wrote for The Muppet Show on CBS and was part of an Improvisation Comedy Group in New York City. His Improv skills showed as he led the students through exercises in creating a compelling story.

He explained how he finds his ideas by using the example of a tree he found that became the theme for his first book in a series of Haunted Mysteries. Showing the students a picture he found on the Internet of a man in underpants signaling a plane, he asked them for sentences, characters, location and quest/mission ideas. He wove an exciting and interesting story from all the random suggestions he was given.

"Fiction is telling lies for fun and profit!" - Chris Grabenstein

He expounded upon the importance of the VERB in sentence structure in a story. He even invited students up to act out the verb he chose to show what a difference it can make in whether a story will capture your attention or not.

Thanks to funding from their PTO, the students at Barrington Middle School Station Campus received an incredible opportunity in the art of writing that will definitely stick with them for a long time. Many in attendance had already read Chris Grabenstein’s current Best Seller Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library and some of his Haunted Book Series.

To see all the published books Chris Grabelstein authored, and additional information click here

Up to eight students in each of the 6th, 7th and 8th grades won a contest to have lunch with the author:

Sixth Grade:

  • Adriana Glascow

  • Aubrey Launer

  • David Ledesma

  • Kate DeGrazia

  • Keegan Teal

  • Liam Starnes

  • Molly Fitzpatrick

Seventh Grade:

  • Alyssa Norris

  • Anya Sastry

  • Daya Welty

  • Emily Torres

  • Heather Gurgul

  • John Espinoza

  • Jonathon Scowron

  • Mads Atkinson

Eighth Grade:

  • Zoe Schroede

  • Amy Dabe

  • Cyrus Markazi

  • Emma Howell

  • Katy Smith

  • Kyle Vasquez

  • Liz Orr

  • Marcus Dorman