High school author encourages children


Kayla Dobyns, Reporter

A classroom full of excited children grips their seats and stares at Kaden Hurley with wonder and admiration. Words flow from her mouth as she begins to read her novel, transporting her listeners to a different world. These elementary kids have found a role model in Hurley, and they hang onto every syllable said by her for the course of a half-hour.

Last week, Hurley grabbed her novel, Elves of Zeoch: The Last Two, and traveled to Mount Rock Elementary School in order to read to the children and talk with them. Once she arrived, she had the opportunity to talk to them about their personal experiences with writing and answered their numerous questions. Hurley explained her own writing and editing process, and discussed what part they played when she wrote her book.

Hurley has quite a bit of experience when it comes to writing, as she started writing her first novel at the age of nine. This was one of the factors that made her the perfect person to speak to young children. Mallory Farrands, high school English teacher, said, “We decided to ask Kaden to do a reading at the elementary level because she wrote a book as an elementary schooler that is really geared toward them and so we thought that it might get them excited and thinking about, ‘Well if she can write a book, can I write one?’” The idea of having Hurley talk to the elementary schoolers was brought up by the Literacy Focus Team. The Literacy Focus Team’s goal in March is to promote reading across the district buildings. March is National Reading Month, and naturally Hurley seemed like the best candidate. Farrands said that the hope was that “[The experience would help] show elementary kids that literacy can be cool”

This opportunity left a positive impression on both the kids and Hurley. Hurley said, “Seeing the excitement on those kids’ faces after reading and talking with them, even after only a few minutes, made me remember why I wanted to write this book in the first place.  I wanted to be an author like J.K. Rowling who inspired people everywhere to read and to fall into a whole new world no one else could have possibly imagined.  To be a part of such an exciting adventure is indescribable.” Farrands found herself amazed as well, saying, “I was really impressed not only by her writing, but by her ability to speak to the kids and engage them. She’s a phenomenal public speaker, and listening to her talk about her process was inspiring.”

As for the future, who knows what Hurley will bring to the table. She plans on continuing writing as a hobby and will definitely incorporate it into her future job, as she is interested in being a communications or English professor, or becoming an editor for a publishing company. The Literary Focus Team will also continue their goals of promoting literature by hosting the Spring Reading Challenge, where any high school student can enter books they read into a can, and possibly have their name called for a Growler Cafe treat.