Author Brings Poetry to ELL Students



On Tuesday November 4 author Skila Brown visited the English Language Learners class Research and Study Skills. The students in Ms. MaryAnne Zehr’s class were well prepared for the visit. They read her most recent book “Caminar” over the past few weeks and later chose poems from it to perform for the class. After writing letters to Brown, she flew from her home in Indiana all the way to this Wilson classroom.

“Caminar,” written completely in poems, tells the story of a boy living during a war over Communism in Guatemala in 1981. Brown did not spend too much time discussing the plot of her book, instead she told the class the 13 steps of how a book gets made.

The first step is an idea.

“I think ideas are like seeds… some of them fall away and some of them stick and stay,” she said. It was clear from the way she spoke that she was a poet. She gets her ideas from daydreaming and actually gave us all permission to tune her out and daydream.

Brown told us that she did not always want to be a writer, but she loves being able to work at home in her pajamas and has been writing poems since she was in high school. However she burned all of those poems when she realized that she did not like them.

The next steps of making a book, according to Brown, are questions, free write, first draft, revision, and querying. After this she begins working with publishers and editors to revise, edit, and finally publish her book.

Then we got a special sneak peak of her next novel, also written in poems, called “With the End in Sight.” But you’ll just have to wait and read that one.

At the end of the presentation, Brown gave us a piece of advice on writing:

“You get to be wrong if you want to be.”