Photos: Courtesy of Jerod Santek
I was fortunate enough to visit a school with a grand total of 85 students on Washington Island, WI. Where’s that, you ask? It’s a ferry boat ride off the northeast tip of the Door Peninsula. After a rocky boat ride, my escort Jerod Santek, the director of Write on the Door, a non-profit gem focused on literacy and writing for adults and children, drove me to the school.
My 7-foot banner of the cover of my middle grade novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, and Jerod and I shuttled from classroom to classroom. At day’s end, I had laughed, chatted with and entertained kids from Kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth grade (no seventh graders in school this year!) and a handful of teens.
I discussed the makings of my novel, decisions about characters, setting, plot, etc. It later dawned on me as I encouraged them to read widely, to try their own hand at writing, and to let the artists within them breathe, that this is my calling. For many of them, this was the first real-life author they had met, perhaps the first author of color, or even someone visiting their school from off-island.
I also realized as we bemoan this point in our nation’s history that our kids are watching us. Our first obligation is to let them just be kids, and secondly, to provide them with the tools to make sense of our multi-cultural, multi-faceted, rich, glorious world, and a little 200-page middle grade novel is helping me to make a contribution.
An African-American tween uses espionage skills and superpowers in this debut middle-grade novel. Seventh-grader Marty Hayes is excited to work with the world-renowned CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing kit in science class. But things go awry…This rousing book with engaging characters should appeal to readers who enjoy adventurous superhero sagas. A thrilling tale with series potential that highlights science, spying, black history, and the importance of family"
Middle grade readers who pick up The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes expecting a one-dimensional story of a young would-be scientist/superhero will find the read exciting, stimulating, and a powerful probe of heroism’s roots and friendship’s special challenges; highly recommended as a standout tale."