Children’s author Jo Watson Hackl was special guest of the Granville County Library System on Nov. 15 as she shared her book and her writing journey with fourth and fifth graders of six local elementary schools. Hackl’s book “Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe” has been selected for North Carolina’s Battle of the Books competition, and schools who participated in the “meet the author” session will be taking part in this annual reading contest.
Hackl says she spent her childhood “inventing characters and roaming the woods” in Mississippi, just outside of an actual ghost town. Her childhood home is the setting for her book, which takes readers on an adventure with a twelve-year-old who follows clues to solve a mystery, along with her poetry-loving dog and the last resident of the town. The author’s goal is to inspire students to use the transformative power of reading to improve their academic performance and their creative writing skills. Her book has been awarded the Southern Book Prize for Children’s Literature.
According to Granville County Library System Director Will Robinson, the visit was the result of a partnership between the libraries and a Wake Forest book store, who will be coordinating future author visits with Children’s Librarian Amy Carlson. Carlson says that the common goal of the library and the book store is to put a book in the hands of every child who participates.
Hackl’s visit was the first one scheduled through this partnership. Schools that attended on Nov. 15 included Butner-Stem Elementary, C.G. Credle, Mount Energy, Stovall-Shaw Elementary, West Oxford Elementary and Wilton Elementary. Each student was able to take home a signed copy of the book, courtesy of Granville Health System.
For more information about this event, contact Carlson at the Richard H. Thornton Library at 919-693-1121.