RIVER CLUB — An incoming “call waiting” button flashed on the screen as Braden River Middle School Media Specialist Joanne Torlucci hastily quieted a library full of students.
In a moment, author Patrick Carman’s face appeared.
“Hello!” he said. “How’s it going, guys?”
Cheers of “hello” echo back.
“This is awesome,” he said. “I’ve got the camera angled so I can see up everybody’s nose.”
On Nov. 3, Carman, author of the best-selling “Skeleton Creek” book series, spent about 30 minutes answering questions from students, asking questions of his Magic 8-Ball and showing off items in his office, such as a leg from a SpongeBob SquarePants piñata.
About 70 students at Braden River, including many in its dropout prevention and exceptional student education programs, participated in the event. All of them had read at least one book in the “Skeleton Creek” series.
“That was one of the most exciting things in my life,” said student Jacob Andrews, who has read two of the “Skeleton Creek” books as well as Carman’s “The 39 Clues” series. “He also made me think I could write a book one day. He encouraged me to read more so I can write better. It was exciting to meet him.”
In the “Skeleton Creek” series, the story’s main characters Ryan and Sarah are trying to figure out the mystery behind the dredge in Skeleton Creek. Ryan journals his thoughts and findings, while Sarah instead uses video to document the things she learns. Readers must read the book for Ryan’s entries and then go online to view Sarah’s videos to keep up with the story.
“His books reach not only the avid readers but the truly reluctant ones,” Torlucci said. “The kids who say they hate to read are those same kids who come into my media center asking every day if the book is available for them to check out.”
Students said they loved the experience.
“Just seeing how (much) he was into writing the books made me feel like I should read more,” Lexi Cofer said.
Torlucci said she has about eight copies of the first book in the series, and all of them are checked out.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].