Young authors celebrate book debut
Northbrook Public Library's Apprentices of the Book Empire club members look at the books they authored and illustrated during a book release celebration at the library. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 15, 2012 11:38AM
NORTHBROOK — A dozen first-time authors recently celebrated their publishing debut.
“Apprentices of the Book Empire,” was a five-week writing and illustrating program at the Northbrook Public Library that offered aspiring authors in grades two through five a special opportunity to have their books published by library staff and added to the shelves for patrons to check-out for one year.
Students met once-a-week for five weeks to write and illustrate their stories during a series of workshops geared toward mimicking the publishing industry.
The young authors were finally able to see the finished editions of their work at the book release celebration, where they signed the hard copies of their books before they were added to the library catalog.
“Kids love to share their writing, and this gives them a big audience,” said Anna Fillmore, a youth services librarian who co-organized the writing program. “It’s exciting and satisfying for them to know that someone they don’t know could be reading their book.”
Besides offering young writers an exciting chance to see their work bound and published like a real book, Apprentices of the Book Empire (ABE) encouraged team work and problem solving skills by having the students work together to illustrate each other’s books by coming up with creative ways to enhance the stories through art.
Fillmore came up with the idea for the ABE with fellow youth services librarian Amy Holcomb as a way to give young writers a taste of the real-world publishing process from start to finish.
“We thought about what we could do that would be unique to the library and unlike what they learn at school,” Holcomb said. “Giving them the chance to have a real audience reading their books was something different.”
Throughout the program, the children convened at the library for an hour after school each week to learn about various publishing-related topics like page breaking, author-illustrator pairings, and how illustrations convey different moods and tones in a book.
To encourage creativity, each author was given another student’s book to illustrate how they saw fit, and without asking the author questions about the story.
“Most kids signed up for the program because of a strong interest in writing, but it was interesting to see how invested the kids became in coming up with the illustrations for the books as well,” Fillmore said.
Northbrook parent Joanna Goralczyk signed her 9-year-old daughter Barbara up for ABE to help satisfy her love of writing outside of her home school lessons.
“It’s her dream to be a writer, and it’s a really cool feeling for her to be published,” Goralczyk said.
Based on the success of ABE, Fillmore and Holcomb are considering offering a graphic novel program geared toward teenage writers in grades 6th through 8th sometime next year.