Children’s book author visits two area schools

A children's book author from New York stressed the importance of reading to students at two area elementary schools.
During presentations to students at Macedonia Elementary in Blackville on Oct. 29 and Barnwell Elementary on Oct. 31, Phil Bildner spoke about how reading is important to the students' futures, no matter what they do.
"Reading is not optional. Reading is your golden ticket," said Bildner.
Bildner was a teacher in the New York City and Manhattan areas for 11 years before becoming a full-time author, which he credits to his students' encouragement. He has written 17 books for children and youth.
"You have got to write about what you know and love," said Bildner to the students. For him, that's mostly sports and history.
Bildner explained the process of writing a book, including how he had to rewrite one book 21 times. "If you care about something and want it to be good, you have to put in the work," he said.
Being a good listener and paying attention to detail are also important, he said. Bildner told how he realized he had a small part of his book, "The Soccer Fence", wrong and was able to change it before he published it. Though it is a fictional book, it references Nelson Mandela being elected president of South Africa.
While all the students won't grow up to be writers, Bildner encouraged them to follow their dreams and have a plan for their futures. "That plan better include reading," he said. "Reading teaches you to care. It puts you in someone else's shoes."
Following presentations to all grades at Macedonia Elementary, Bildner enjoyed lunch with winners of the Red Ribbon essay contest. He also went to each classroom to sign copies of his books.
At Barnwell Elementary, Bildner started the day as the grand marshal of the Grand Slam Baseball Parade around the school's parking lot, a reference to his many stories about sports. Each grade came up with a team name and team colors. Students were encouraged to dress in their favorite baseball attire and team colors.