• (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)
  • (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)
  • (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)
  • (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)
  • (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)
  • (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)
  • (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)

Author uses stories to teach during school visit

More than 100 Kelley Smith Elementary School students spent Wednesday expanding their imaginations and learning life lessons through fun stories from a professional children’s author.

Keith Lawrence Roman, author of more than 20 children’s books and comics, read his stories to class after class. Roman listed the different kinds of stories he writes, such as “I Sat Beside An Elephant,” and proceeded to give students a first-hand glimpse into the life of an author.

“I have the most wonderful job in the whole world,” Roman exclaimed to the excited crowd of students. “My job is to write stories for children. I write all kinds of stories. There are all kinds of children, so they need all kinds of stories.”

Suzanne Buckles, Kelley Smith’s media specialist, said it was a positive experience for students to meet the author of books they read. She said once the students found out Roman would visit, it was hard to contain their enthusiasm.

“They are super excited, especially our little ones,” Buckles said. “They have never had the chance of actually meeting somebody who writes books, so they are excited to actually meet a real author.”

Buckles said Roman’s books, which focus on teaching lessons through rhyming about individuality and the power of imagination, also connected to what the students learn in the classroom.

“He has a ton of things with rhyming and alliteration that he does, so it reiterates things they are taught in their classroom,” Buckles said. “It brings it to life with a real author, just to kind of introduce them to the book world and the lessons behind it.”

When Roman began to read his stories, the energy-filled crowd quieted and hung onto every word and every rhyme. It was Roman’s first visit to a Putnam County school and he said the students impressed him beyond measure.

“These guys were honestly great,” he said. “This was my first time in Putnam County, and I think everyone is bright and brilliant.”

As Roman wrapped up his reading session, he explained the lessons behind each of his stories. He told students it was vital they be the best version of themselves.

Roman explained the lessons he taught Kelley Smith students stem from his days as an elementary school student, which allows him to put himself in the shoes of the audience for whom he now writes. He hopes his lessons can help them somehow, someday.

“I wrote my first story when I was 7 years old. I didn’t make any books until I was 57. Don’t waste 50 years to follow your dreams,” Roman said with a laugh.


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