Tag Archives: author

School News Network: Kentwood fifth-grade author keeps turning out new fiction

Oummu S. Kabba smiles with her biggest fan, her dad, Brima Kabba, at her book-signing.

By Erin Albanese

School News Network


In colorful markers, Oummu S. Kabba neatly wrote “O.S.K,” adding a smiley face inside the “O,” during her book-signing event at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Grandville’s Rivertown Crossings Mall.


Catering to a steady stream of shoppers, the Kentwood Public Schools’ Discovery Elementary fifth-grader was selling stacks of the three books she has already published for $10 a piece.


“I feel excited about all the people who care enough to come,” Oummu said. She was joined at the signing table by her father, Brima Kabba; brother Alpha, a third-grader; and sister Rugui, a sixth-grader.


Oummu S. Kabba, 10, has published three books and has a fourth soon to be released ‘You Can Express How You Feel’

Oummu published her first book, “Charlie the Talking Dog,” at age 8. Now 10, she has since published “The New Girl” and “The Chicken Man.” Her next book, a 150-plus page novel called “Battle for My Brother,” will be released in the near future.


The young author is the daughter of refugees who had no formal education. Brima Kabba was born in Sierra Leone. He was a refugee in Guinea when he met and married his wife, Fanta. They eventually settled in Malta and were part of a group chosen by the U.S. government to come to America in 2009, when Oummu was a toddler.


“I always tried hard to help my kids read and write their names,” Kabba said. He said he didn’t know his daughter would turn those skills into books. “I’m so proud of her.”

Kabba said he first realized his daughter’s passion for writing when she was 6 and he came across her journal, where she had begun “Charlie the Talking Dog.” He promised to publish the book when Oummu finished. True to his word, he did, through Chapbook Press at Schuler Books, where her other books have also been published.



Oummu said she loves the creativity of writing fiction. “You can express how you feel through different characters and no one can tell you what to write. No matter what, the story is yours.”


Oummu is in the gifted-and-talented program, PEAKS, at Discovery Elementary. Her parents are putting any profits she makes from books sales into an education fund. She hopes to go to Harvard University and become a doctor, but she said she will always make time for writing.


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Grand Rapids author reads from new book at Schuler Books

Kenneth Kraegel

By Whitney Spotts

Schuler Book & Music


Grand Rapids children’s author and illustrator Kenneth Kraegel makes a visit to Schuler Books & Music, 2660 28th St. SE, this Saturday, March 25.


Kraegel will present his newest book “Green Pants!” in a special story-time set for 11 a.m. In celebration of anyone who marches to their own drummer, Jameson wears his individualism as his own personal style which happens to be his green pants. When he wears them, he feels like he can do anything. Now he is forced to make a big choice: to where black pants and be in his cousin’s wedding or to keep his signature green pants and not be part of the wedding. What will Jameson decide to do?


Kraegel is the author and illustrator of several picture books including “The Song of Delphine” and “King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson,” which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Wall Street Journal Best book of the Year.


For more information about the story-time or other programs at Schuler Books & Music, visit schulerbooks.com.

School News Network: Author to student writers ‘Do it because you love it’

MarcyKate Connolly shows Lee students her first list of edits that needed to be done for her novel “Monstrous” - See more at: http://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org/index.php/2016-17/author-student-writers-do-it-because-you-love-it/#sthash.9jll4iM8.dpuf
MarcyKate Connolly shows Lee students her first list of edits that needed to be done for her novel “Monstrous” – 

By Erin Albanese

School News Network


It can be a looooong way from when the first sentences are written to when a completed novel hits the shelves. Publishing is a journey often wrought with rejection and lots of revision, said MarcyKate Connolly, author of fantasy books for middle-grade and young adults.


“If there’s anything I want you to take with you today it’s that writing is rewriting,” Connolly told about 50 Lee Middle-High School students who attended the session because they have an interest in writing.


Connolly talked about the roadmap to publishing, which she learned by writing her books “Monstrous” and “Ravenous,” tales geared toward tweens that have been likened to Frankenstein and the Brothers Grimm.


Connolly, of Boston, made a stop at Lee while visiting Grand Rapids Comic-Con, the popular event where sci-fi, fantasy and comic book fans gather. She explained the quest of a writer, including spending many hours in her “writing cave,” the challenge of finding an agent to represent the book, the experience of rejection and the work that continues after a book is accepted for publishing.

And finally, the thrill of seeing the book at stores and in the hands of others.


MarcyKate Connolly signs a book for the Lee Middle-High School media center
MarcyKate Connolly signs a book for the Lee Middle-High School media center

A marketing professional by day, Connolly said her love for writing and storytelling kept her going despite more than 300 rejections from publishers. She wrote several books that were never published and received her first offer for publishing after four years of trying.


“Publishing is not something you get into thinking you are going to get rich quick or going to be a mega bestseller overnight,” she said. “You do it because you love it.”


Connolly had to re-assess her goals, at one point. “Why am I doing this to myself?” she recalled asking after getting rejection after rejection. So she continued writing for herself, making up the stories and characters she loved.


Kelly McGee, Godfrey-Lee district media specialist, said Connolly’s visit helped students think about writing as a career and the process of becoming an author. He said he hopes to start a student writer’s group. “I think we have a lot of writers here.”


He said he also wanted students to leave with the message that perseverance is required for accomplishing your dreams.


Connolly’s books were published through HarperCollins Publishers. Her next book, “Shadow Weaver,” is scheduled for release in winter 2018.


She encouraged students to find their “tribe” — other writers they can use for empathy, feedback and critique. And no matter how many failed attempts, she urged students to look at it as getting somewhere.


“Whatever words you write are not wasted,” she said.


Freshman Olivia Clark, who loves writing, said Connolly’s words resonated. “Don’t give up. You’ve got to be strong. There are harsh people out there.”


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