Shawn Lamb, author of Allon, visited my school this week and spoke with some of the boys in the Library Club. Here’s what she wrote on her blog (and gave me permission to share):
What a hoot the boys were yesterday! (Although, some girls who weren’t able to meet with me in January showed up – so it wasn’t exclusively boys – but they were the majority) Not only were the boys excited and got hooked on ALLON after viewing the website and book trailers, a group of four boys starting to telling me how to turn ALLON into a video game. They included how to market it, make it online or Playstation vision – of course, the last time I play a video game was "Pac-Man" and "Space Invaders" in an arcade.
I listened to the enthusiastic bombardment of terms and skill levels, etc, but time was running out and they were going to be late for their next class. Finally, Diane Chen (the librarian) suggested the boys make a mock-up video of their idea based upon the book and could use their library time to do so. I said if they did, I’d come back for a private viewing. Thus, with the idea planted, we sent them off to class, howbeit very late.
About ten to fifteen minutes later as I went on to my next group, the math teacher arrived. Diane apologized for the boys being late to his class by explaining about me – the author – visiting and their excitement about a video. Well, that’s why he came, he wanted to know more about this ‘video’ and ‘map’ that they kept talking about. So he sat down with the kids and asked me to explain it all to him, the story anyway. I don’t know if I even want to venture into the video game realm. In the end, he asked me to email him a copy of the map of ALLON so he can help the boys with the math portion of the game.
The last and largest group arrived, the 6th graders. These were the most active and enthusiastic – which I didn’t think was possible after the boys and math teacher – but they were. It was funny how almost all of them when they first saw the cover art thought the ‘gouges’ were real and kept trying to feel it. Then when they saw the "Guardians of Allon" book trailer they started to identify with the characters. So I pulled up the list of mortal and immortal characters on the website with more visual renderings of the characters, and they started ‘role-playing’. They haven’t even read the book yet!!
Finally, after three hours of meeting with the kids, I was getting ready to leave and one of the 6th graders returned to the library and said his teacher sent him to get her a signed bookmark. Instead of just giving him a bookmark, I went with him to class. Upon entering, he proudly announces "I brought the author!" I’m trying not to laugh out loud because I was just down the hall at the library so walking a few steps to another classroom wasn’t a tremendous effort, but it was a big deal for him. He was sent for a bookmark and came back with the author.
I learned the teacher – Mrs. Holmes- sent him back to the library because she was curious what made the kids so excited. They couldn’t stop talking about the book and retold her everything I said during our session. This impressed her since – according to her – "these kids don’t get excited often". Due to class ending, I signed a few bookmarks and arranged for another time to return to speak with Mrs. Holmes’ class.
The kids at JFK Middle are great and I look forward to returning and visiting with them, along with being very curious about what the boys come up with for this video game.
Allon by Shawn Lamb. Creation House, January, 2010. ISBN-13: 9781599798912. 288pp
Let me share with you more of the story. Shawn Lamb visited with us on Wednesday. Thursday we took 68 students on a Field Trip to the Nashville Public Library Main branch and to the Southeast Branch. As soon as we returned, two boys insisted I email or call Shawn to ask if she could bring them copies of the book since they HAD TO HAVE THEM to read over the Easter break. Shawn dashed over to the school to accomodate them and I’m looking forward to hearing their reactions on Monday. These students want an epic adventure.
The land of Allon was a paradise until the fall of the Guardians paved the way for the rise of the Dark Way. Evil King Marcellus now controls the land as his forefathers did, with an iron fist and the help of the evil spirit, Dagar. But an ancient prophecy speaks of a time to come when the Guardians will return and Allon will be restoredlead by its rightful heir. All the while, the exiled teenage Promised Prince, Ellis, must prove himself worthy to be king through a series of supernatural trials that test his character, wisdom, courage, and his heart.
The first in the "Allon" series, this magical tale of adventure, destiny, and faith will test the reader’s strength and awaken their spirit of adventure.