RUMFORD — An award-winning children's author from Brunswick spoke to a group of students and their parents at Rumford Elementary School Thursday evening.
Cynthia Lord, a former middle-school teacher and author of the Newbery Honor book “Rules” and the picture book “Hot Rod Hamster,” read as part of Literacy Night, an evening dedicated to motivating students to read. Before her reading, Lord visited classrooms to discuss her book with students and talked to them about reading and writing.
“Your kids were amazing,” Lord said to the parents at the beginning of the reading. “They welcomed me with hugs, set up posters on the walls, put up beautiful Christmas lights.” Lord added that when talking to a student about it, she said, “It looks like magic,” to which the student replied, “We did it all for you.”
Lord delved into her writing past, telling students how “we all start at the same place as writers,” and for her, she grew up thinking that writers “only lived in New York City and grew up in a house full of books.
“My mom and dad were not readers,” Lord said. “In fact, my dad's only read two books that I know of in his entire life: my first book, 'Rules,' and my second book, 'Touch Blue.'” As the audience laughed, Lord smiled and said, “He read them because he loved me, not because he liked reading.”
Despite growing up in a house with few books, Lord said it shouldn't affect any students who want to be writers when they grow up. She gave four tips to students to focus on if they want to be better writers, including reading, writing, learning and dreaming.
“Dreaming is important,” Lord told the students. “Sometimes, you have to pay attention to where your mind goes. When I was in school, my mind always used to wander.” As proof, Lord showed students a copy of her second-grade report card, which read, “Cynthia would rather stare out the window than get her work done.”
“How many of you stare out the window sometimes?” Lord asked, to which every student, and even some parents, raised their hands.
Lord ended the presentation by reading the her children's book “Hot Rod Hamster.” She said she got the idea for the story from her daughter's hamster, Rocky.
“He used to run around in his wheel so fast that he would fall out,” Lord said.
After the reading, Lord signed books for students and parents.
Rumford Elementary also had a book fair set up in the library, along with snacks and drinks.
Lord's first novel “Rules” won the Newbery Honor in 2007, as well as the Schneider Family Book Award.