Author of “Peter and the Starcatchers” Visits TBS


Emerson Ferry

Ridley Pearson talks to a full house of students in the Barker Performing Arts Center on April 9.

In the words of author Ridley Pearson,“If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?” The New York Times bestselling author of suspense and thriller novels for adults and adventure books for kids (Kingdom Keepers) gave an interactive and inspiring speech to students in grades three through seven in the Barker Performing Arts Center on April 9.

During Pearson’s presentation, he talked about his writing process, where he gets his ideas, and he even showed the students how the pictures are drawn by his illustrator, Ile Gonzalez, and then put on the page.

Pearson came to The Benjamin School to promote his new graphic novel titled Super Sons: The Polarshield Project, where the sons of Superman and Batman investigate why the polar ice caps are melting.  He was happy to tell students how the book was illustrated and written, and let them know that this was the first book in the series.

“These new graphic novels are called Super Sons, and the first one is called Polar Shield Project,” said Pearson. “I was asked by DC Entertainment – the people responsible for the DC comics and movies such as Batman, Aquaman and Shazam – to write three books about the son of Batman and son of Superman,” he said. Pearson also gave multiple tips to his young audience for writing their own essays and books, such as conducting research, re-reading one’s work, and writing multiple drafts.

“It was really interesting how he was telling us what he experienced at Disney and in the ocean when he was researching his books,” said seventh grader Hannah Beam. “I never knew some authors went places to research the books they write.”

“I would use a lot of his writing tips,” said sixth grader Jake Weinberg. “He said we have to go over our writing multiple times.”

Along with being a best-selling author, one of Pearson’s books, Peter and the Starcatchers, which provides a backstory for the character of Peter Pan, was turned into a Broadway play in 2012.

“That was one of the more exciting things that has ever happened to me,” said Pearson. “I grew up going into New York and seeing plays and musicals, and when Disney decided to join forces with the people who did Wicked, it was the highlight of my life.”

Pearson also presented a slide show which included many optical illusions that both enthused and entertained the students. It appeared that he presented these to demonstrate that people have different perspectives and there are multiple ways of looking at and thinking about the same thing.

“I thought the optical illusions that he chose were very interesting,” said seventh grader Brendan Matz.

“I thought the optical illusions were very cool and [it showed] how our brains can be tricked,” added fellow seventh grader Arthur Wolff.

Before departing, Pearson left the students with his own personal story about determination. It was about a time when he was snorkeling and, unbeknownst to him, a massive storm approached out of nowhere. Because of the storm, Pearson couldn’t see the beach. However, he was able to draw upon the skills he learned as an Eagle Scout, and observed the way in which the waves were moving, which indicated the direction of the shore.

“One of my favorite parts of his speech was when he was talking about never giving up when he was snorkeling and the storm came,” said Weinberg. “Him showing his perseverance when he was in the ocean inspired me.”

At the end of Pearson’s presentation, he allowed students to ask questions about him and his new book which students could pre-order thanks to Media Specialist Ms. Danielle Wishka. She invited invited Pearson to TBS and sent out order forms to students before he arrived so they could pre-order an autographed copy of Super Sons: The Polarshield Project.

Wishka enjoyed his presentation as much as the students did.

“I think the way he presented his style of writing was very interesting,” she said “I loved that he said [one’s writing] has to be imaginative and exaggerated. You have to observe and then take those observations one step further.”

He may have even inspired some future novelists.

“It was really interesting how he was telling us his stories, and that kind of inspired me to try and maybe write my own book and experience some of the things he experienced when he was researching his books,” said Beam.