BAXTER - First they read the book. On Thursday, they got to meet the renowned author.
Author Will Weaver, who lives in Bemidji, spent Thursday at Forestview Middle School in Baxter giving multiple presentations throughout the day to eighth-graders who read his book, "Memory Boy," in their English classes.
Bemidji author Will Weaver, best known in adult circles for his novels, "Red Earth, White Earth," and "Sweetland," spoke to Forestview eighth-graders Thursday about his young adult fiction, including "Memory Boy," which all eighth-graders recently read. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The young adult novel features a Wayzata family, including two teenage children who must escape to safety to their summer cabin on Gull Lake two years after Mount Rainier exploded, spreading ash that destroys crops and food supplies, creates global warming and increases violence in the cities.
Weaver told students he is currently in the process of publishing a sequel to the book titled, "Goat Girl."
Author Will Weaver, who is attempting to reach young male readers with his new dirt-track racing-themed books, presented Team Weaver Racing's Super Stock car, the Bookmobile, to Forestview Middle School eighth-graders. The car, driven by Bemidji driver Skyler Smith, often races at North Central Speedway south of Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Weaver's visit was made possible through funds provided by the Forestview PTO and eighth-grade teachers and their students who raised money through various fundraisers last spring and this fall.
Misty Jobe, a Forestview eighth-grade teacher, had been a student of Weaver's when he was an instructor at Bemidji State University. Jobe said her students really enjoyed reading "Memory Boy," including her male students.
"Finding books boys like is so, so hard because the vast majority of books are geared toward girls," said Jobe.
Weaver is attempting to change that. He has written a series of young adult fictional books centering around small town stock car racing. Weaver himself is helping to sponsor a Super Stock car called the Bookmobile under Team Weaver Racing. Driver is Skyler Smith of Bemidji, who has raced the Bookmobile at North Central Speedway south of Brainerd. Weaver had the Bookmobile car Thursday at Forestview, parked directly outside the media center where he spoke to students. Unfortunately the constant rain didn't allow students to go outside and check out the car themselves.
Weaver spoke about "Memory Boy," and his other work. Students asked him many questions, including queries about his writing process and if he's ever based characters on himself. He said the lead character in "Full Service" is "75 percent me." When asked which of his books was his favorite, Weaver said it was difficult to say, although he said he enjoys "Memory Boy."
"These are all my children," Weaver said with a laugh, pointing to his books displayed on a table. "And you're asking me to choose."
Several students said they were excited to see Weaver in person.
"I was thrilled," said eighth-grader Kida Smith, who has read a few of his books. "I didn't think he'd have time to come to a middle school."
Grant Warwas, also a Forestview eighth-grader, said after hearing Weaver talk about his book, "Defect," he wanted to read it. As does Smith, who said she hoped to start reading it soon. "Defect," a 2008 Minnesota Book Award winner, is about a 15-year-old boy who has a hidden birth defect that also gives him the ability to fly.
"I thought it was pretty cool he came here," said Warwas of Weaver.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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