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Forest Lane Academy Students Visited by Award-Winning Author

Jewell Parker Rhodes at Forest Lane Academy

Students at Forest Lane Academy enjoyed a visit from renowned author Jewell Parker Rhodes. Rhodes is an award-winning writer and acclaimed educator and speaker. She is the author of Ninth Ward, a Coretta Scott King honor book; Sugar, winner of the Jane Adams Peace Association book award; and Bayou Magic. She has also written many award-winning books for adults.

Born and raised in a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she was a voracious reader as a child and preferred reading and writing over dolls and sometimes even food.  She began college as a dance major, but when she discovered there were novels by African Americans, for African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author.

She wrote her first children’s book at the age of eight and through the help of her teacher, was able to read her story to her elementary school. This “was an amazing experience to see, feel, and hear my classmates’ responses,” said Rhodes. “Reading to them, I felt the power of my own storytelling.”

Writing a children’s book was a dream come true for Jewell.  “My childhood was difficult,” said Rhodes. “Books stirred my imagination and kept my spirit alive. I wanted to write a story that perhaps, one day, would inspire a child when they needed it most.”

Jewell was able to inspire Forest Lane Academy fifth and sixth graders through a reading of Ninth Ward. She shared the voice given to one of the Ninth Ward characters, held a question and answer session with aspiring student writers, and signed copies of her series of children’s books.

“Students at Forest Lane Academy were captivated by Jewell Parker Rhodes as she shared the inspiration behind her characters and award winning stories,” said Cecilia Whitham, FLA Library & Information Technology Educator.  “One student was so excited to meet the author and receive a signed copy of, Bayou Magic, that she proclaimed it to be the best day of her life!” 

Thanks to Scholastic for affording this awesome experience to bring Jewell Parker Rhodes to Forest Lane Academy!

     
 
 
 
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