Elementary School, Leverett,
January we began advertising our author event that was
going to be held in March. Peter Lourie, author
of numerous children’s non-fiction books, would
spend the day with a morning presentation in the gym
for students in grades 2- 6 followed by two writing workshops:
one for students in grades 3 and 4 and another for students
in grades 5 and 6. We made three displays. One
was on the bulletin board outside our library and it
depicted Peter as a world traveler – traveling
the world in his canoe.
then made two additional displays that advertised the
upcoming event. One we displayed at the town library’s
front hall and the other we placed right inside our library
with a display of all the
books that Peter had written.
Display in the Library
the next two months, teachers and students were encouraged
to check out Peter’s books for recreational
reading or for curriculum-related topics. Some
of Peter’s materials have been integrated into
the curriculum. For example, the sixth grade teacher
used the books about Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea in
their study of American History and the fifth grade used
the Aztec, Inca, and Maya books for their ancient civilization
displayed flyers at the post office, town
hall, and all the doors in the school, advertised often
in the school’s Friday newsletter, and included
a flyer in the town’s quarterly newsletter.
was the highly anticipated month…Peter Lourie!
arrived in Leverett on Friday, March 24th and the
day was as successful as anticipated! Peter was
as entertaining and as informative as we had
remembered him from a Keene State Children’s
kids and the adults alike enjoyed Peter’s adventure
stories and his advice on writing. One
hundred and two students in grades 2 through
6 along with about 40 staff and community members
presentation in the gymnasium. The
kids all remember Peter’s lasting phrase…”Good
writing is detailed writing!” In
fact, the Grade 6 teacher used Peter’s
phrase before the students began their MCAS English
Language Arts test the second week in April! The
best way to describe the day is from the participants. Evaluation
forms (see below) are a true testament to Peter’s
ability to bring his writing adventures to life. Below
are some photos from the day at Leverett.
captured the students’ attention from the moment
he started talking!
asked, “Am I really strong or is this boat really
animated style held the kid's attention for a solid hour!
do you pack when you travel down a river?
little pots for cooking and eating your food!
to writing workshops in the library…
Grade Teacher: Wow! Peter
was an amazing presenter. He
was polished, practiced, engaging and responsive. He
was the best presenter to a multi-age group of children
I have seen in 16 years of teaching. Bravo!
from his students:
liked how he was very descriptive.
liked it when he said that not everything you
write is perfect.
think that he was a good storyteller.
learned a lot about writing.
really gets an audience’s attention.
learned that “geezers” have a lot to
say about exploring.
was cool when he showed us rough drafts of his stories.
liked to hear about his adventures. I wish
I could have heard more.
used details, so I could picture it in my mind better.
Grade Teacher: I loved how Peter included
personal stories about his children in his adventure
stories. He is very physical when he shares
histories and brings his stories to life! The
canoe, pictures, and artifacts made it very engaging
for the children and adults.
from her students:
he taught me that good writing is DETAILED writing!
loved the story about the Hudson River.
liked the story about his daughter going camping.
was interesting when he went to (find) the Inca treasure.
was fun to learn how he got the ideas for his stories.
made it feel like I was with you. It made me
feel like there were animals on the floor.
had so much energy.
liked the writing workshop.
am thinking of reading the Lost Treasure of Captain
Kidd next, after I finish the four other books
I’m reading, of course.
know how to make a gentle ride down the river dramatic.
liked learning how he put his book together.
Grade Teacher: Peter is an accomplished
writer and a skillful actor. He brought to
life his experiences traveling down the Hudson River
by canoe. He knows from his own school experiences
what motivates kids to want to write, and with humorous
accounts, he recreated his struggles to write about
his dog’s death. By involving his audience
in repeating refrains such as “Details!”, he
kept rapt attention through the gym presentation
and the writing workshop.
from her students:
liked the story, “Daddy, I hear an alligator
think my favorite part of (Peter’s presentation)
was getting to know what his trips really meant to
warned us about plagiarism.
you for coming to our school to show us the entertaining
and fascinating places that you went to.
thought he was going to be a boring person, but I
was really interested when you talked about shark
diving with your daughter. I can’t wait
to read the book.
was worth waiting two years for him to come.
learned a lot and hope to remember your visit for
thought I would be nervous about meeting an author,
but Peter was just an ordinary person.
was like getting the inside, inside scoop (about
- DETAILS! DETAILS! DETAILS!
lots of drafts.
Grade Teacher: It’s extremely difficult
for a guest speaker to visit an elementary school
and present as captivating a program as Peter Lourie
did. He was understandable and enjoyable on
both levels-children and adults. He injected
humor and personal perspective. A great experience. While
the students took their English Language Arts state
tests, I put his quote “good writing is detailed
writing” on the board. I truly think
it made an impact. Superb!
learned that there are many ways to collect information
like, recording what you are thinking and taking
learned that if you work hard you will come out with
a good report.
stories made me want to travel around the world and
write when I grow up.
would say first thank you for the writing tips.
liked the workshop because I love to write. It
was fun to learn about how a REAL writer writes.
liked how you put images of our trip in my head.
learned that researching is not just a days work,
it takes weeks.
sincerely appreciated the tips on writing and have
used them to improve my writing.
Staff, Parent, and Community Member Comments
use of his actual notes and faxes (from his editor
and publisher) really made it (writing process) come
sure he converted many children to want to become
adventurers and writers!
presenter, completely engaging with superb ability
to keep all the children’s attention.
and most informative!