By Jennifer Edgar, 2nd Grade Teacher
He’s intelligent, fabulously funny, and, as we came to find out, quite a cool character. No, it’s not Mr. Jason, keep thinking…not Mr. Chris… it’s adored author and writing mentor, Nick Bruel, creator of the very popular and quite humorous Bad Kitty books. And 2nd grade spoke with him, right here in our very own classroom.
Here is what our kids had to say:
“I loved it!”
“It was really fun and so cool to see him.”
Thanks to Skype and Ms. Amanda, my ever-supportive-techno-go-to-colleague, 2nd grade was able to speak live with Nick from his Tarrytown, New York residence. Our hour-long connection was clear; a real person, not just a name on a cover, came to life in front of us. We even shared time with Esmeralda, his family cat and inspiration of his clever and humorous book series.
Nick spoke with us about his history as a writer, letting us know his beginnings as an author started when he was in kindergarten and have never stopped. Hearing this from him reminded us of the importance of our writing voices as young people, and inspired us to continue on with our creations, improving and elaborating, finding those topics near and dear to us and expanding on them. Who knows what our writings may become or where they might lead us? Who knows what audience we might inform or delight with our writer’s voices?
Nick reminded us to write at home, not just in school, and to have fun illustrating as well. He answered all our questions and later commented to me in e-mail that our questions were quite interesting, ones he had not formerly been asked. From learning his favorite color (we knew to use purple and black to decorate his thank you package!), to clarifying that the narrator in the Bad Kitty books is supposed to be each of us, to learning that Uncle Murray (one of the book’s characters) is based on his real life uncle, Nick became a living breathing, thoughtful person just like one of us. His writing comes from his experiences and his imagination; he collects, and writes and rewrites, and he enjoys the process.
Today we sent off a thank you package to writer and real-life person, “Mr. Nick Bruel,” in Tarrytown, New York. Our package was heaped with bags of homemade cookies, numerous versions of the kids own Bad Kitty stories (Bad Kitty Goes to the Dog Park proves quite action packed!) and many sketches of Bad Kitty characters. We even put in some cat toys for Esmeralda. Jazzily decorated and thoughtfully created, we hope it relays a big CLC thank you to this very popular, very busy author, who took the time to inspire our young writers, and remind us of the potentials of our very own writings.