Just as the school year ended, the students in Marvina Bugajski, Gause Elementary first grade class had a special treat with a 45-minute, interactive zoom visit from Alexis O’Neill, author of The Recess Queen.

The short story tells the tale of Mean Jean, a recess bully, who was turned around when an energetic new kid, Katie Sue, invites her to be her friend.

“I did not read the story to the kids beforehand because I wanted it to be fresh and new when they heard it from the author,” said Bugajski. “We did review story elements so they could look for the beginning, middle, end, main characters and the setting. After the story we discussed the elements they identified.”

O’Neill made the zoom presentation fun and interactive having the students stand behind their chairs and do feet and hand movements to go with the story. “The students wanted to know how long it took to write The Recess Queen and learned it took seven years,” explained Bugajski. “Alexis even shared her draft, sloppy copy with them.”

Students asked O’Neill if she had pets and were shown a picture of her cat.  They also asked who illustrated the book. She explained she sends her writing to a publisher, and they matched her story with an illustrator.

“I want to thank the Gause Boosters for their generous gift that made the author visit possible,” said Bugajski. “My hope is this experience will inspire the students to journal this summer and develop a love for writing like Alexis and I have.”