Recently, the UNIS Library had the privilege of welcoming 2017 Newbery Award winner Kelly Barnhill, (The Girl Who Drank The Moon), who spent the day with our Middle School. After a tour of UNIS, Ms. Barnhill, a former Middle School teacher herself, met with sections of Mr. Murphy's and Ms. Voskov's M4 English classes in Ms. Voskov's room for hands-on creative writing tips and practice. She was then escorted to a special catered lunch in the Library Conference Room attended by students representing each MS Advisory, the M1/M2 and M3/M4 Book Clubs, and the MS Creative Writing Club. Students enthusiastically purchased copies of Ms. Barnhill's books and had them signed.
In the afternoon, Ms. Barnhill spoke with Ms. Ferguson's, Mr. Murphy's, Ms. Voskov's, and Ms. Dominick's English and ELL classes in the Theatre, giving students a taste of the evocative, sophisticated language of her award-winning, best-selling book. She closed the day in the library with M3 English and ELL students, offering more writing practice and discussion.
Ms. Barnhill's visit was a unique opportunity for Middle Schoolers to be mentored by such an accomplished author, and their enthusiasm was high. "I can't believe how nice she is!" an M1 commented. An M4 who writes on a daily basis added, "I have so many good tips now." An M3 said, "She really helped me find a way to become unstuck with what I'm writing."
Clearly, there are many passionate writers in the Middle School: imaginative, creative and eager to learn more. Thanks in part to events like Ms. Barnhill's visit, the Creative Writing Club feels more inspired to revive the UNIS MS literary magazine -- and many Middle School students have exciting books to read over Spring Break.
Special thanks to Danielle Lewis for contributing to this piece.