Patrick Jones to visit Morenci 04.13.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

How did author Patrick Jones ever come up with the idea of a vampire who needs tears to survive?

What will his next story be about?

How did he get into writing novels for young teens in the first place?

Those questions and any others that fans come up with will be answered Saturday morning at Morenci’s Stair Public Library when the popular young adult author visits at 11 a.m.

The event is sponsored by the library’s Teen Book Club.

The Morenci visit will mark the second for Jones, thanks to the efforts of middle school teacher Sally Kruger.

Mrs. Kruger began corresponding with Jones years ago on MySpace after she read one of his books and published an on-line review.

The Flint, Mich., native told her he would like to visit Morenci some time when he was back in the state and the arrangements were finally made in 2008.

Many of those who spoke with him then are now seniors in high school, Mrs. Kruger said, and a new group of fans will have their chance to meet him Saturday.

It’s the sort of experience Jones appreciates because he enjoys connecting with his audience to find out how his writing is being received.

Jones believes he knows the young adult genre well after reading those books by the dozens for more than two decades. He’s served on the committee that awards the “best books for reluctant readers” designation and he thinks he knows what it takes now that he’s writing his own novels.

“I think I have an understanding of what makes a book appealing to reluctant readers,” he said in an interview in 2008.

It starts with an intriguing opening. It’s written at a seventh grade reading level. It has short paragraphs. It needs to be relevant to the readers’ lives.

“There’s a stereotype that says a young adult book is simple,” Jones said. “In some ways, it is. But why are these teen characters behaving the way they do?”

That’s where some complexity arises.

When Jones visits schools, it’s mostly 10th and 11th grade students that he connects with. Seventh and eighth grade students tend to be the chief readers of his stories, but it’s the older kids who discuss the issues.

School visits are much more common than library talks, and libraries produce more unpredictable audiences that often include younger students as well as adults. His presentation is recommended for students in the eighth grade and older.

Jones’s novels are sometimes criticized for the language used, but he says it’s actually tame.

“If the dialogue was really like teens speak, no school would buy it,” he said. “There’s a vision of how parents want kids to be and there’s the actuality of how they are.”

He aims to use that reality to help teens work through their journey of growing up.

“How do you get through it? That’s the real journey,” he said.

He knows the trip isn’t always pleasant, but he knows that growth will occur.

• Drawings are planned for two autographed copies of Patrick Jones books. Borders will have books on sale Jones will sign autographs,

The event is recommended for students in grade eight and older, and adults are encouraged to join in.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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