Peter Ackerman entered the Lower School to the warmest of welcomes from the students. After weeks of reading Ackerman’s books and learning about him, the students were bursting with excited energy to meet the author. As Ackerman walked through the halls, he was met with whispers of, Is that Peter Ackerman? and thrilled calls of, Hey, you’re Peter Ackerman! There is nothing that warms the heart of a librarian like seeing students give celebrity treatment to an author.
Ackerman led three group discussions about what life is like as a professional writer. He shared with the students that after college, he first worked as a stage actor, ultimately finding success at 30 years of age as a playwright. Over the past 20 years, Ackerman explained, he wrote for stage, television, animated movies and children’s books. He continues to enjoy working on varied creative writing projects, likening it to learning different subjects in school. He told the students that all writing begins with two words: What if…? For example, What if a phone booth had feelings and got to become the hero of the story?
After talking a bit about his career, inspirations, and his writing process, he read The Lonely Phone Booth to the students, who sat in rapt attention. He told the students he is working on another book in the Lonely series, The Lonely Record Player, and entertained other possible topics for the series. Then he opened the floor to questions. Hands shot up all over the room, and Ackerman answered insightful and interesting questions for the remainder of each session. As students left the room, they thanked Ackerman, asked a few extra questions and even asked for autographs.
Eight lucky third graders hosted a lunch with Ackerman in the library, where they dined on Chef Ricardo’s culinary delights, regaled the author with stories, peppered him with more questions, and posed for a few photos.
Ackerman wrapped up his visit signing books for the students and teachers. Many thanks to the PA for donating a set of Ackerman’s books to the library and each classroom, grades K-5.