Visiting author makes stop at Buffalo Island West

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Buffalo Island Central West elementary was one of 10 schools visited by children's book author Tom Birdseye. He was at BIC on Wednesday.

Lisa Whitehead, Kohn librarian; Kay Taylor, director of youth services with Craighead County/Jonesboro Public Library; Author Tom Birdseye and BIC Librarian Melinda Wells. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

The visiting author was made possible through the efforts of Craighead County/Jonesboro Public Libraries and an anonymous donor. Librarian Lisa Whitehead and Director of Youth Services Kay Taylor introduced Mr. Birdseye to the students.

"We want the students to know there is someone in their community who thinks it is important for them to meet an author and donates to help make it happen," Whitehead said.

Birdseye talked to the different classes starting with kindergarten through sixth grade. He told the students about his growing up years in North Carolina and Kentucky, love of sports and outdoors, college, family, a year in Japan, teaching years, and his decision to become a writer.

"When I was your age, I did not like to write," he said.

Using a Power Point program, he introduced himself to the students and shared stories explaining to them where he gets the ideas for his books and note taking for future writing ideas.

He encouraged the students to read and write using characters they know, such as their pets.

Birdseye and his wife, Debbie, live in Oregon and have two grown daughters. He taught school for 10 years. He told the students he met a real writer when he was 30 years old and she encouraged him.

His first book, "I'm Going To Be Famous," took four years to finish and was rejected by eight publishers, but the ninth publisher said yes. Since then Birdseye has written 19 books. He is the author of novels including Storm Mountain; A Tough Nut to Crack; Attack of the Mutant Underwear; Tucker; Just Call Me Stupid; Tarantula Shoes; and The Eye of the Stone. For the younger children he has written picture books including Oh Yeah; Look Out Jack! The Giant is Back; Air Mail to the Moon; A Regular Flood of Mishap; A Song of Stars; Soap! Soap! Don't Forget The Soap; She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain; and Waiting for Baby. Nonfiction include A Kids' guide to Building Forts; What I Believe: Kids Talk About Faith; and Under Our Skin: Kids Talk About Race.

The students also enjoyed his storytelling as he told where he got the idea for his stories and the reading of his books to the younger students.

Melinda Wells is the BIC librarian. She thanked Mr. Birdeye and the Craighead County/Jonesboro Public Library for giving the students the opportunity to meet the author.

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