January 2016…Students at a Norristown elementary school recently got an inside look at the creative process behind writing books.
Gloria Barone Rosanio, author of Pedro’s Hungry Ride, read the story about a boy’s long bicycle ride searching for fresh fruits and vegetables to approximately 140 students during several classes during an afternoon at Whitehall Elementary School. She and the illustrator, her husband Jim Rosanio, answered questions about the book and ideas that led to it.
The students were especially interested in how she came up with the story, Ms. Rosanio said. She told them she had known someone who had traveled across the United States on a bike and she also had come to realize how important it is for everyone to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The book brings the two ideas together, she said.
“The students were ecstatic to learn about the process of writing a book,” said Tami Peterson, school librarian.
The students came prepared as well. Many had already read the book with Ms. Peterson and knew the story ahead of time. And they were ready with questions. “The questions ranged from asking how long it takes to write a book to whether I make money as a writer of children’s books,” said Ms. Rosanio.
The story helped the students take a closer a look at their own communities and the types of fresh produce offered in the stores near their homes. “And more importantly,” said Ms. Peterson, “they learned that through determination and dedication, one can achieve what they believe in.”
The visit was organized by Healthy NewsWorks as part of its ongoing effort to build health awareness and literacy throughout the schools where the program operates. Whitehall is the home of the Healthy Reporter newspaper and is one of 14 schools participating this year in the Healthy NewsWorks program.
–By Brian Bonanni, Healthy NewsWorks volunteer