'Fablehaven' authors taps into Ogden students' creativity

Mar 15 2012 - 8:53pm

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Author Brandon Mull speaks to students at Mound Fort Junior High School in Ogden on Thursday. Mull, of Highland, is the author of the "Fablehaven" series of fantasy books.(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)
Author Brandon Mull speaks to students at Mound Fort Junior High School in Ogden on Thursday. Mull, of Highland, is the author of the "Fablehaven" series of fantasy books, as well as the "Beyonders" series. (MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)
"Fablehaven" series author Brandon Mull, of Highland, encourages kids to tap into their creativity on Thursday at Mound Fort Junior High School in Ogden. (MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)
Author Brandon Mull speaks to students at Mound Fort Junior High School in Ogden on Thursday. Mull, of Highland, is the author of the "Fablehaven" series of fantasy books.(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)
Author Brandon Mull speaks to students at Mound Fort Junior High School in Ogden on Thursday. Mull, of Highland, is the author of the "Fablehaven" series of fantasy books, as well as the "Beyonders" series. (MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)
"Fablehaven" series author Brandon Mull, of Highland, encourages kids to tap into their creativity on Thursday at Mound Fort Junior High School in Ogden. (MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- It felt a little like "The Price is Right" at Mound Fort Junior High School on Thursday morning, as best-selling young-adult author Brandon Mull took answers from the audience on creative ways a character could travel to another world.

Three students lined up in the front of the auditorium as he showed examples of how to create a story. Students took suggestions from their peers amid laughter and giggles at some of the ideas.

"A shower!" one student yelled.

"A toilet!" came another response.

"This feels like 'The Price is Right,' " Mull said, laughing.

Soon, the beginnings of a story in a faraway place were pulled together and the creative juices were flowing.

That is exactly why Principal Peggy Dooling-Baker loves to have authors come to her school.

Mull is the second New York Times best-selling author to visit the school in the past two weeks. Last week, Obert Skye spoke with students. Both authors came to Ogden district schools courtesy of the Ogden School Foundation.

"It encourages literacy and writing through real-life application," Dooling-Baker said. "We want to get our kids talking about reading and writing."

She said she loves how an author such as Mull inspires the kids and they rush to the library to check out his books.

This year, the students will have plenty of books in stock, because the district bought several copies so students wouldn't walk away disappointed after hearing the author.

That's exciting news for seventh-grader Dakota Thomsen. He lingered after the presentation to meet Mull, who wrote one of Dakota's favorite books, "Fablehaven."

"It was just really cool," Dakota said of the presentation.

He held a signed bookmark from Mull very carefully as he looked through a stack of books on the table. Dakota said he would be heading to the library to check out the next four books in the "Fablehaven" series.

Ninth-grader Candy Nolasco also enjoyed the presentation.

"I haven't read any of his books, but I plan to now," she said.

She said once an author talks to the students, they are more interested in reading, especially when the author is funny, like Mull was.

Renae Woods works with the Ogden School Foundation and has seen the positive results that come from authors visiting schools.

Mull's visit was something of a bonus. His agent recently called the foundation and said he would be in town Thursday and that he would love to talk to some students.

"Anytime you can have a New York Times best-selling author come speak to kids, you jump on it," Woods said.

As some students milled around Mull after his presentation, teachers and administrators smiled at the star-struck atmosphere.

Mull also enjoys his school visits. The Highland resident tries to visit local schools as much as he can. He has been to more than 1,000 schools in 35 states, and it never gets old for him.

"It's a win-win," Mull said of his visits.

He said he likes to encourage students to be creative with whatever they are good at, be it sports, dancing, art or writing, and it also gives him a chance to put the word out about his books.

He knows his presentations can make a difference because he gets positive feedback in the form of emails from parents and students telling their stories of writing and reading triumphs.

"That's the biggest win you can get," he said.

Mull has had nine books published. His "Fablehaven" series and his new "Beyonders" series have been on the New York Times young-adult best-seller lists.

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