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.
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.