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Students Skype with Award-Winning Author Nora Raleigh Baskin

Seventh+grader+Alexander+Fleming-Lake+speaks+with+Ms.+Baskin+during+the+Skype+session+organized+by+Dr.+James+on+February+15%2C+2018.
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Students Skype with Award-Winning Author Nora Raleigh Baskin

Seventh grader Alexander Fleming-Lake speaks with Ms. Baskin during the Skype session organized by Dr. James on February 15, 2018.

Seventh grader Alexander Fleming-Lake speaks with Ms. Baskin during the Skype session organized by Dr. James on February 15, 2018.

Mr. Crisafi

Seventh grader Alexander Fleming-Lake speaks with Ms. Baskin during the Skype session organized by Dr. James on February 15, 2018.

Mr. Crisafi

Mr. Crisafi

Seventh grader Alexander Fleming-Lake speaks with Ms. Baskin during the Skype session organized by Dr. James on February 15, 2018.

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Nora Raleigh Baskin is a renowned writer and author who works for the Boston Globe, Writer Magazine, and has written 13 novels for middle schoolers. On February 15, the accomplished and renowned author Skyped with seventh and eighth-grade middle school students during lunch and study hall in room 45. Baskin advised them to help the students prepare their TED talks which they will present at this year’s TEDx The Benjamin School event: “Sapir Whorf” on April 21.

Seventh grader Hannah Reece listens to Ms. Baskin talk about her painful childhood.

Baskin will also be sharing the stage with the students that day, and during her Skype session, talked about from where her desire to write came. She spoke about the death of her mother when she was just three-years-old. Her mother commited suicide, and Baskin’s early writings spoke about her guilt over not being able to save her. Baskin said to Krystyna Poray Goddu in a 2013 issue of Publishers Weekly, “That was the subject of my first book, and guilt and loss are the subjects of almost all of my books.” It was especially difficult for Baskin because she did not know how to express her frustration about her situation. It was through that loss that she became inspired to be a writer.  

Baskin has won many awards, including the 2010 ALA Schneider Family Book Award for Anything But Typical, and the 2016 ILA Notable Books for a Global Society award for Ruby On The Outside. She also wrote a book called  9/10, which is a story about the tragic day of 9/11 in New York City and the bombing of the Twin Towers.

Baskin has been helping children and adults to find their inner writer with the help of organizations such as SCBWI, Gotham Writers Workshop, and the Highlights Foundation. According to Dean of Academics Dr. Tina James, who organized the session and is spearheading Benjamin’s third consecutive TEDx event, having an experienced writer critique and encourage students’ work is helpful, and develops young writers’ minds and creativity.

“I want to engender a sense between adult speakers and student speakers that they are colleagues and collaborators,” said James, “taking the stage together on April 21, and that they should share their process, all the highs and lows of thinking of their ideas, writing their talks, and rehearsing it together.”

Mr. Crisafi
The seventh and eighth-grade students listen to Baskin while eating their lunch in room 45.

In much the same way, Baskin feels that writing allows humans to connect. “Writing is a way to validate my existence and feel connected to the world,” she said. Baskin spoke about how she became a writer, what inspires her to create her work, and how her personal situation made her who she is today. Students also were able to ask her questions and share with her their TED talk topics.

“I felt honored because she, as an experienced writer, loved my idea,” said Fleming-Lake, whose TED talk will be about what it’s like to be a minority swimmer and feel like an outsider sometimes. He’s looking forward to April 21 at Benjamin Hall. “I’m excited because I have never given a TED talk before,” he said.

In her address to students, Baskin also reminded them that people have their own special voices. Her message was similar to the message of  TEDx: “ ideas worth spreading.”

“I pick and choose from things I’ve seen, felt, done, or experienced…and I give that to my characters,” Baskin said, speaking of her writing process. She talked about her feelings of loneliness, too, and how she uses writing to help her work through those feelings. “I read to feel less alone, and I write for the same reason. And here’s the crazy truth, it really works,” she said.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Students Skype with Award-Winning Author Nora Raleigh Baskin”

  1. Robby Zhang on March 20th, 2018 2:27 pm

    Wow! This article is very informative, and useful! I hope you write more articles like these within the near future!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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