Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2007

Author touts ‘Airball’ at LMS

Novel is nominee for prestigious William Allen White citation

May 10, 2007

When she was a child, author Lisa Harkrader of Tonganoxie told Lansing Middle School students last week, she always read books that were nominated for the William Allen White citation.

Today, her children's book, "Airball: My Life in Briefs" is a nominee for the prestigious writing award.

To make the list of nominees was wonderful, said Harkrader, who visited the school on Tuesday, May 1.

The book is about a seventh-grade boy who goes out for the basketball team for a chance to meet the NBA superstar he's convinced is his father.

Harkrader said the story was influenced by the "Emperor's New Clothes" because in the book the coach buys the team new uniforms to improve the team's morale and skills, but the main character end ups playing in his underwear.

She said the story was based a lot on Tonganoxie because that's where she grew up. Her daughter, April, attended LMS.

Harkrader said she tried to bring a small-town feeling into the story. Her alma mater, The University of Kansas, is also mentioned in her book.

Harkrader said many bookstores across the state have embraced the book because there aren't many books for young adults about Kansas.

Marlene Brown, LMS librarian, said the voice of the book is just like a seventh-grade boy would act, speak and react.

"I liked it," she said. "It's fun, funny and has enough mystery so you couldn't wait to see what happened."

Harkrader gave a school assembly in which she discussed her writing career, her inspiration for writing ideas and the revision process. She also held writing workshops with approximately 28 students especially interested in writing and emphasized how everyone can take one idea and create diverse stories.

Brown said she was surprised by the student's participation and how much they wrote.

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