Bergeron Fellow Linda Sue Park teaches grade six writing workshops

Ms. Park talks about her books in an assembly for the whole middle school on April 10. She writes picture books as well as chapter books for older readers and loves writing and reading more than anything (photo by Carrie Kim).

Recipient of the 2002 Newbery Medal and frequent name on the NY Times Bestseller list visited ASL as the Bergeron Fellow of 2018. Linda Sue Park is a writer of both children’s and young adult books and is an accomplished Korean author living in New York. Ms. Park was at ASL working with the Sixth grade and giving talks to parents and students from April nine to April thirteen.

The Bergeron Fellowship is a program in which every year, a writer comes to ASL to work with middle or high school students for a week. The program was established in 1996 and is named after former English teacher Luke Bergeron.

This year, Ms. Park spent a week with  the sixth grade students, working with them on their narrative writing skills. The sixth graders who had managed to read at least four of Linda Sue Park’s books received a special certificate to congratulate them.

The Newbery Medal winner goes to schools all around the world. “I love visiting schools because it’s so awesome to go to a school where they’ve read your book,” Ms. Park said. “I just love books and when I go to a school, I get to talk about books all the time!”

Ms. Park has books for a wide range of ages, but she particularly enjoys writing for the younger generation. “When a kid likes a book, they remember it their whole lives.”

She said that adults, however, don’t remember books they read two or five years ago. “When writing for kids I get to write books that kids will remember their whole lives and that’s really special.”

More than anything else, she said she spends her time doing draft after draft of her novels before she’s happy. Ms. Park said, “I’m not a writer…I’m a rewriter.”

She always wants to ensure that her stories are ones that evoke emotion in people, and she loves the idea of having the power to make someone who’s halfway across the world laugh or cry. “Reading is magic,” she said.

Ms. Park is motivated to visit schools because she believes children need to keep reading paper books in order to save the world. Ms. Park said that reading a physical copy of a book as opposed to a digital one allows you to use different parts of your brain that aren’t easily accessed in this modern day.

The younger generation was born into the digital era and they have grown up using electronics for work, social interaction and even reading. Because fewer and fewer people read paper books, her theory is that the human race will become less smart since certain areas of the brain won’t be put to use.

Therefore, if everyone reads hard copy books, and also has a new book to read all the time, we can be saved from this unfortunate fate.

Ms. Park also continues to visit schools for the simple reason that she enjoys writing and reading as many books as she possibly can. “I know how lucky I am that when I go to work, I get to sit and make up stories. That’s an awesome job and I don’t want any other.”

About Briannah Anderson ('22) and Isobel Link ('22)

Arts Editors (2017-18)

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