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Acclaimed children’s author gives Coyotes lesson on creating stories

Acclaimed children’s author gives Coyotes lesson on creating stories
What happens when you put dozens of students in a room with acclaimed author J. Scott Savage and ask them to create a story in 15 minutes?

Magic sprinkled large food items, a bunch of string cheese and silliness.

Savage, the author of the Far World and Case File series, visited with Higley’s Coronado Elementary School students this week as part of a nationwide tour to promote the first book in his new series, “Mysteries of Cove: Fires of Invention.”

“When people discover I’m an author, they sometimes ask, ‘So your job is to get up, change out of your pajamas and make up stories,’” Savage told the group. “I tell them, ‘Sometimes I don’t even get out of my pajamas.’”

His latest book, he said, centers around how two young people can make a difference in their world – and even change it. To emphasize that, Savage shared the true stories of one girl who raised money for cancer treatment that sparked a nationwide nonprofit (Alexandra Scott), another who fought for the rights for girls to go to school in her country (Malala Yousafzai), and a six-year-old boy whose efforts to raise money clean water in Africa sparked a program that now gives drinking water to 700,000 people (Ryan Hreljac).

Savage’s stories, humor and wit easily entertained the group of fourth, fifth and sixth graders, but it was his “5-step” lesson in story writing that highlighted the event. He selected a “hero,” or protagonist from the audience, along with a “goal,” a student who declared himself a “20-pound hamburger.” Savage set the story: his hero was to get past three obstacles (also three students from the audience) in order to eat the 20-pound hamburger before her classmates turned into zombies.

There was a great deal of laughter and students came away inspired to create their own creations.