Last Friday, we were honored to host an hour-long virtual author visit the personable, informative, and dynamicAllan Stratton. Students who had read  Chanda’s Secrets in their literature/inquiry circles as part of our larger unit on Issues in Africa in Learning21/Media 21 enjoyed the opportunity to interact with Stratton and ask questions.  During our hour-long conversation, we learned about Stratton’s life, the influence of his mother on his writing, how he came to write Chanda’s Secrets, how he develops characters, and common themes in his books.  Students also asked Stratton how he went about researching information for the book; since they have been researching the HIV epidemic in Africa, research strategies were something they really wanted to know more about from him as a real world writer.

We also enjoyed Stratton showing and telling us about a range of international covers for Chanda’s Secrets; we even got to “meet” one of his cats (which delighted my 10th graders)!   The students were excited to talk to the author of the book they had read and to actually ask him questions and get real time responses via Skype.  For the students, this Skype experience was their first, and they were impressed at how wonderfully it worked.  After the session ended, students commented on how much they enjoyed the virtual visit, and some even shared they wished they could have had another hour to ask questions and to hear Stratton’s thoughts!

We were all charmed and delighted by Stratton, and if you are looking for a dynamic author visit, then it is without any reservation that I recommend you add Stratton to your “must hear” author list!  A heartfelt thank you to Allan Stratton for his time and for working with us to set up this wonderful Skype visit!