Author Spends Day in Champion
April 3, 2018
CHAMPION — Author Jordan Sonnenblick said it was an eighth-grade student whose younger brother was battling cancer who inspired him to write books about children.
Sonnenblick spent an entire day recently at Champion Middle School, where he held writing workshops, lectures at assemblies and book signings for the fifth- to eighth-grade students who have been reading his books.
Andrea Baer, seventh-grade language arts teacher, said the entire school read “The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade” in one school day prior to Sonnenblick’s visit.
Sonnenblick, a former eighth-grade English teacher, speaks to students across the nation on how he became an author.
He said when he was a child, he suffered from attention deficit issues, making it hard for him to pay attention in school.
“I was super hyperactive and was constantly getting into trouble when I was not paying attention,” he said. “Learning to play drums helped me to focus.”
Sonnenblick said the key to being a happy adult is to find something you are good at and really love to do and practice it and get good at being an expert at it.
He said that as a child, he wanted to be a teacher, drummer and writer. He became a middle school teacher and played drums in a band on the weekend.
Sonnenblick said he always enjoyed writing and reading and soon began to write books.
“The worst feeling in the world is to know what your dream is and not be doing it. Look at what you need to do to make your dreams come true and practice what you like,” he said.
Sonnenblick said a student of his who all the students liked and with whom everyone would share their problems inspired him to write the book “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie.”
“She was always laughing and was heroic and pretended to be fine when I learned her younger brother was battling cancer,” he said.
The girl’s brother died in May 2004, a month before the book telling her story was released.
After that book, he wrote others.
“Find a way to use the skill to make someone else’s life better. Use your talents to help others,”Sonnenblick said.
Students said they enjoyed spending the day with their guest.
Gunnar Gray, eighth grade, said, “His personality is just like all the main characters in his book. He is sarcastic and funny. He comes across the same way his characters do in his books “
He said the books have a serious note, such as the “The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade,” which told how a student who was not popular found a way to be popular.
Bethany Worley, seventh grade, said she liked Sonnenblick’s humor.
“The books are funny but they also tell you a good lesson. I liked where he got his ideas,” she said.
Baer said the students learned of Sonnenblick’s inspirations for many of his books.