Fairgrieve Elementary School didn’t have to go far this year to find children’s book authors to speak to students in grades three through six.
Sixth grade teacher John Mercer and kindergarten teacher Justin Johnson spoke with students about how they became authors and offered advice for fellow writing enthusiasts.
Mercer penned and self-published “They Call Me Zombie” and “They Call Me Zombie: Hope,” which both follow the life of a boy named Mikey who died but was resuscitated by doctors.
During a fifth grade presentation in the library, a handful of students said they already read the first two books in the series and wondered when he would write the last to complete the trilogy.
Feedback from current and former students helps him craft each book he writes, he said.
The whole process takes him upwards of two years from start to finish, when the book is published.
“I’m an author too!” fifth grader Alexzander Taylor exclaimed.
Mercer encouraged him to keep writing and to never give up.
Johnson had the same attitude throughout the past couple of years when he wrote several books.
While he treated the third grade classes to a short story reading from his book “Do Not Feed the Zombies,” he said one of his favorite characters to write about was a booger in his book, “Flick!”
The moral of the book is to do the very best in any situation you are in.
Johnson self-edits, publishes, markets and sells his own work.
His message to students was that anyone can be an author.
“I hope they just sit down and write,” he said.
Money raised from a recent Scholastic book fair helped purchase about one dozen “They Call Me Zombie” books for students, selected at random, to enjoy, free of charge.
Book fair proceeds and a generous donation from Johnson were used to purchase one of Johnson’s books for each third and fourth grader.
Students may also check out books written by Mercer and Johnson from the school library.