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Students Skype with 'How to Survive Middle School' Author

Cover2Cover hosted the event as part of World Read Aloud Day.

Inquiring minds wanted to know: What is a writer’s life like? How does a writer come up with her ideas? And for this specific author, they also wanted to know if she had a hamster.

Those were questions students at were able to pose to the author of “How to Survive Middle School” (a book that features a hamster among other things) last week.

The students are part of an after-school reading program called Cover2Cover. Its purpose is to promote reading and provide a social opportunity for its members to share and discuss books, Amy Barbarino, library media specialist at Canonsburg Middle School, said.

Barbarino and a handful of teachers helped coordinate the program last year to allow students to read and discuss the hugely popular novel, “The Hunger Games.”

Not only do participants read and discuss themes and ideas, but they also participate in activities related to the books.

The group meets every five to six weeks to allow its members the opportunity to read the selected book. All middle school students are welcome to join.

But it was the blog that Barbarino keeps for the library that caught the eye of “How to Survive Middle School” author Donna Gephart.

“Ongoing communications with Ms. Gephart led to her volunteering to meet with our book club via Skype to discuss her book and answer student questions. We scheduled the Skype session as part of the third annual World Read Aloud Day,” Barbarino said. “Ms. Gephart spent 30 minutes discussing her writings and interacting with our students. The students were excited and enjoyed the opportunity to talk with a published author.”

And while the students may have been a little shy to talk with a published author, Barbarino said they told her afterward how they felt.

“After it was over they told us it was so cool,” she said.

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