There is much to be learned from meeting a professional author, including tips on writing, drawing and coming up with story ideas. The best advice elementary students may have received from author Megan McCarthy is to keep trying, even after a failure. 

McCarthy shared with students at Bayville and Locust Valley Elementary Schools that she has failed, but has always gotten right back up and kept on trying. “You can’t succeed if you don’t keep trying, “ she said. 

Sharing photos and anecdotes from her childhood, McCarthy read from stories she wrote in elementary school, including spelling errors and all. This helped the young writers to see that she didn’t start out writing professional-quality books, but that practice and education helped her reach her goals. McCarthy talked about her process, from brainstorming and writing rough drafts to drawing sketches and painting her pictures. 

The students at Locust Valley and Bayville have been reading McCarthy’s books, many of which are nonfiction and written to be informative and entertaining at the same time. With the help of the art teachers, students also created artwork based on her books – a mural at Bayville Primary School and individual pictures at the other schools. 

“It is a wonderful experience for children to meet an author that they already love,” said Bayville Intermediate School Librarian Paige Coppola. “They were able to ask her questions and learn about her process.” Coppola said meeting professional authors often inspires children to write more creatively and read more books.

Author visits take place each year and are sponsored by the Locust Valley Parents’ Council and the Bayville PTA, in cooperation with the librarians at each of the elementary schools.