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Author Trent Reedy visits North Tama

April 1, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

Dysart native and award-winning author Trent Reedy returned to Iowa and visited North Tama School District on Tuesday, March 26 to talk with students at all levels about the need for reading and writing in their lives.

"Several months ago, I was contacted by the librarian at the Oelwein school district, who inquired about me coming to speak," Reedy said. "When they made the visit possible, I knew I would be more available to visit other schools and other schools were interested. My mother lives in Dysart and graciously offered to host me and lend me a vehicle to visit North Tama."

While in the elementary school, Reedy spoke about the difficulty of writing and his own troubles at a young age. Reedy was inspired by his elementary school library, where he would spend hours reading himself and wished to impart that passion to the students at North Tama.

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Author Trent Reedy speaks with North Tama second and third graders about how difficult writing can be, but how important it is to be creative and imaginative.

"I want the kids to explore their own natural playfulness and creativity; to embrace it and to have fun with it before they have those impulses by skepticism and criticism," Reedy said. "I was in a sixth grade class today with a poster about growth mindset, which is the most important thing to understand in writing. I tell students there's no such thing as bad or good writing, only writing that requires more revision. It's about the piece of writing, not the writer."

Reedy feels he sees a lot of encouragement in schools for writing and bringing creativeness to schools is a tool for motivation, not a solution. A graduate of Union High School, Reedy likes to go to smaller schools to encourage students that writing is something they can do too.

"You don't have to go to an expensive, suburban school to achieve your dream, or grow up in a big city to pursue a career you really want," Reedy said. "It was encouraging to talk to second and third graders about their writer's workshop folders and see how enthusiastic they are about it. These young students have had the opportunity to experiment with their own fiction and develop their own writing."

The author of several children's and young adult books, Reedy's first novel, Words in the Dust, was inspired by his service in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard. He has appeared on TV and presented programs overseas. Reedy currently lives outside of Spokane, WA with his family. In addition to speaking at North Tama, Reedy held a program at the Traer Public Library to discuss the importance of literature, art and music in everyday lives.

"Often when the budget is tight at schools around the country, we treat books, arts and music as extras," Reedy said. "First we cut the library purchasing budget, then maybe go down to a half-time librarian, or get rid of the art teacher. One of the things I learned from my service from the war in Afghanistan is that the Taliban tried deliberately and violently to remove all books, art, music, culture and free thought. Without them, people begin to die inside. I encourage the community to embrace and promote those things. After today, I will be thanking the community for the fantastic work they are already doing in promoting those things."

Teachers and faculty were pleased with the presentations to students and were especially excited to have a Iowa native presenting to the next generation of potential writers.

"Everyone has been very impressed with how [Reedy] is able to engage and connect with kids," Elementary Principal Josh Youel said. "We've had children's authors visit North Tama in recent years, but he's different and a local guy. It shows the kids they can be an author if they want to be someday."

Reedy next spoke at the Norma Anders Public Library in Dysart on Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m. For more information on Reedy's story and his novels, visit his website:



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