LAYTON -- East Layton Elementary School had the rare honor of a visit from New York Times' best-selling children's author, Brandon Mull, who is best known for his Fablehaven fantasy series.
Though he resides in Highland, Mull is visiting schools across the country this month in conjunction with the release of his book "Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy," which was released Tuesday.
Mull said one of his favorite parts of being a novelist is visiting with his readers.
"You write books, and if you don't stay connected with your readers, it can hurt you, so I like to visit with them and listen to what they want in future books," said Mull said Wednesday at East Layton Elementary.
Mull spent most of his time encouraging the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders to cultivate their imaginations.
"I'm a real believer that your imagination can take you many different places in life," said Mull, the author whose imagination has conjured more than a dozen books in the past seven years. "The world would be a boring place if we didn't create things."
Mull said his stories spent a long time in his head before finally being put on paper and then sent to a publisher.
"As a kid, it never seemed possible for me to write a book, but now I've been able to share my stories with millions of people," Mull said. "Use your creative talents to do something cool."
People use their imaginations for all sorts of things, he said, such as drawing, doodling, writing or telling stories, playing imaginary games, creating music, acting, dancing, performing or cooking.
Mull talked about how his imagination helped him in the creation of his books.
While Mull was visiting the zoo and watching the hippos, one opened its large mouth. Mull said he thought to himself, "You could fit a dude in there." That thought, he said, led him to use the idea in one of his stories to transport his characters to a different world.
As he talked about several of his books, Mull hoped it left an impact on the students.
"When I come in and get them excited about the books, hopefully it will be that extra motivation to get even the reluctant reader to crack open a book," said Mull, who refers to his visits to schools as his social time of the year before he becomes a hermit again while working on his next book.
Mull said he is getting ready to work on a new series, called Spirit Animals, an adventure series where people have special bonds with animals, enabling them to share powers while experiencing unique adventures.
Mull revealed his secrets to becoming an author. One, he said, is that having a lot of experiences gives a writer plenty of things to write about. Second, exercising one's imagination is critical for coming up with good stories. Third, he told students, it is important to read a lot, write stories and share them with others. And last, he encouraged the kids to never give up.
Mull had to share his stories with several different publishers before he finally got someone to say yes.
"It seemed like it would never happen, but if you are persistent, it can happen," Mull said.
East Layton Media Specialist Cristi Jacobsen said she was thrilled the school was chosen to receive a visit from the well-known author.
"We have so many of our kids that read his books, and we absolutely love him," Jacobsen said.
Sixth-grader Olivia Alvord is currently reading the third book in Mull's Fablehaven series, and had it on hand for the author to sign. She said:
"I totally freaked out when I found out I'd get to meet him, because his books are so cool."