Author speaks at Title I summer school

PARKERSBURG – Title I summer school students are getting hands-on instruction in creative writing this week thanks to California-based author Bruce Hale.

Hale, who has written children’s books such as “Clark the Shark,” “Snoring Beauty,” “The Chet Geko Series” and “The Underwhere Series,” has been visiting Jefferson and Franklin elementary centers this week, talking to students about reading and writing.

“I started out as a reluctant reader,” Hale said. “I thought books were just good for killing flies.”

Hale said as a child time without television forced him to turn to books for entertainment and once he started reading he was hooked.

“It changed my life,” he said.

Hale spoke with students Monday and Tuesday as well as attending parent nights at each school. Today and tomorrow he will participate in writing workshops at each school, helping the students to find their own literary voice.

“Together we’ll create our own stories,” he said. “Kids have wild imaginations. It ends up being some really weird, wonderful stuff.”

Christie Willis, director of elementary schools and former assistant director of Title I programs, said having a writer in-house gives children a chance to see people can make a career of writing books.

“I think it gives them some insight into the writing process,” she said. “Also, they think it is awesome to meet someone who is ‘famous.’ “

Each student will receive two of Hale’s books signed by the author, Willis said. More than 140 students are attending Title I summer school programs this year, she said.

For more information on Hale and his books, visit