Students cherish local author’s tales

From left, EHS teacher Mr. Dudics, Christian Colon, Ms. Tarshis and Michael Klein. Christian and Michael were instrumental in getting her to appear at Eagle Hill School.

From left, EHS teacher Mr. Dudics, Christian Colon, Ms. Tarshis and Michael Klein. Christian and Michael were instrumental in getting her to appear at Eagle Hill School.

In late February, the students at Eagle Hill enjoyed listening to an exciting presentation from local author, Lauren Tarshis, who wowed her audience with uplifting stories.

Ms. Tarshis is the author of the popular I Survived… series of books in which a historical disaster, such as Sept. 11, 2001 is relived through the eyes of a child.

But instead of being gloomy, the books have captured the attention of children with their fast-paced and personal perspectives.

Ms. Tarshis is also the author of the critically acclaimed Emma-Jean Lazarus books, which are on many school lists and Oprah book club picks.

According to Eagle Hill School, watching the children listen to Ms. Tarshis, one might have thought a rock star had entered their midst as she explained how the I Survived… series came to be, and her own experiences as a child with reading problems.

Since visuals and images came much easier to her than words, she ended up concentrating on details such as this, perhaps explaining why her books so vividly describe events.

In fact, Ms. Tarshis told the students that she was so focused on having her readers understand the cold of the water when the Titanic sank, she walked into the Sound near her home in Westport — in the middle of winter — so that she could properly describe that specific kind of cold that almost burns. A tub of ice just wasn’t the same, she said.

As the session ended, the students were encouraged to ask questions and hands shot up everywhere.

Most had questions about her process; however, knowing that Ms. Tarshis liked to write action-oriented disaster books, many students had ideas for future projects, such as the tsunami in Japan (which Ms. Tarshis was already in the process of writing).

Eagle Hill is an independent school that helps boys and girls ages six to 16 with language-based learning disabilities acquire the academic and social skills necessary for transition to a traditional learning environment.

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