Here at the Robertson Center, we absolutely love Kelly Yang’s middle-grade novel Front Desk. We love it so much, in fact, that on Tuesday, January 11, Kelly joined us for our One Community, One Book event (you can watch the webinar here) and engaged in a rich discussion about her life, writing experience, and debut novel with Success Academy educators Mr. Aldwin Villanueva and Ms. India Knight and fifth grade students Andres and Surina.
Andres and Surina asked Kelly a meaningful question from their classmates: how do you become a writer?
Writing is such an important form of communication; it allows us to share our stories and use our voices in unique ways. Our students work hard to hone their writing skills while they’re in school, whether they’re reacting to a book like Front Desk (see some awesome examples here!) or explaining how they do their math problems.
Our students are passionate writers looking to hone their craft, and Kelly was super excited to share her top three tips for how to become a writer.
#1: You can’t write if you can’t read
Writers are readers! Kelly reminded all of us that all good writers are voracious readers, and that the best way to develop our writing skills is to spend a lot of time reading. In the market for a good book? Check out some of our RC favorites.
#2: Write short pieces before you tackle long pieces
Writing is hard work and takes a lot of practice. Tackling short pieces allows us to experience not only all of the challenges, but also all of the joys that come with writing!
#3: Plan what you’re going to write
“I’m a big believer in planning what you’re going to write,” Kelly said, before adding “Not everyone is this way, but I definitely am.” Having a roadmap for our writing can help us get from start to finish without getting too lost or too stuck. Planning can help us get our words from our brains onto the page.
We are so excited to take Kelly’s advice for becoming a writer, and also to reflect on all of the insights and discussions we had around Front Desk, from thinking about what it means to be free, the struggles of achieving the American dream, or even what it means to be a good friend. We want to give Kelly Yang another HUGE thank you for joining us for One Community, One Book, and to our panelists Mr. Villanueva, Ms. Knight, Andres, and Surina.
Please check out Kelly Yang’s website to learn more about Kelly Yang and her work.
We asked scholars to channel their inner Mia and write letters advocating for something they believe in or draw an illustration of a thematic scene. Here’s what Grade 5 students at Lafayette Middle School came up with!