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Beth Stefanik
Associate Director of Communications & Media Relations
434.296.5106 (o)
434.282.4371 (c) 

Area Elementary Students Hear Acclaimed Authors at St. Anne's-Belfield School


Charlottesville, Va., March 21, 2016 – St. Anne’s-Belfield School hosted more than 2,400 second and third grade students from Charlottesville and Albemarle County today as part of the 2016 Virginia Festival of the Book.  The students split into morning and afternoon sessions to enjoy talks by acclaimed authors Jon Scieszka and Steven Weinberg on the “secrets” of making books, and the sources of each author’s inspiration. They also had the opportunity to create a few characters together, with Weinberg illustrating.

“It’s good to be the guy who tells the story or draws the pictures, because then you get to put the story together,” Scieszka told students in the morning session.

Named the inaugural National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in 2008, Scieszka is the author of the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein series as well as the popular children’s book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, among others.

Weinberg, author of Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg! and other books, told the audience that his stories come from his own childhood.

“I would think back to when I was your guys’ age,” he said, before reading his most recent book You Must Be This Tall. Weinberg also shared a composition notebook from his kindergarten days, in which he drew his first illustrations and wrote his first story, “Hotdogs.”

Students were invited to suggest ideas for new characters that Weinberg illustrated for them, and Scieszka urged them to create a simple plot as well.

“Once you have your character, it kind of helps to have some action that this character is doing. Like, what would the character want?” he asked. 

When students suggested an action for the characters to take, Scieszka let them in on his final secret: “You guys are officially writers now!”

The event was live streamed for the benefit of local students unable to attend in person, including children being treated at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. 



St. Anne’s-Belfield School is a co-educational preschool through grade 12 day school of more than 900 students and 120 faculty and staff, with a boarding program in grades 9 - 12. More than 20 countries are represented in the student body, with 38% of families receiving financial aid. More information may be found at

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