Author tells Berry students to pursue their dreams

A seventh grade student shares a character he developed with this peers and author Chandra Sparks Splond during a March 3 workshop. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

A seventh grade student shares a character he developed with this peers and author Chandra Sparks Splond during a March 3 workshop. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—Today, Chandra Sparks Splond is known as an editor, author and owner of her own publishing company, but it wasn’t always this way. Before becoming an author, Splond was Birmingham girl with a dream.

On March 3, in celebration of Read Across America week, Berry Middle School sixth, seventh and eighth graders had the chance to speak and work with Splond.

“We wanted to do an activity with the kids…something to get them excited about reading, something a little different,” Berry Library Media Specialist Ginger Hewitt said. “This (program) brings it into the actual process of how the author gets started and how an author gets thinking.”

Students in each grade level could sign up for a 50-minute, small group session with Splond.

Splond talked with students about using characters to make stories interesting.

“One of the ways you (make a story interesting) is to create characters you either love or love to hate,” Splond said to a group of seventh graders.

Splond read aloud from her book, “He’s Got Game,” then students got the chance to develop a book character of their choice.

Students brought their characters to life by creating an image of the character’s iPhone, complete with personalized wallpaper, two e-mail messages and a three-song playlist.

“I wanted to do something they could relate to,” Splond said. “(The exercise helps students) get in touch more with the character and gets them thinking.”

Along with developing writing and storytelling skills, Splond encouraged students to follow their dreams.

“I was just a kid who grew up with dreams, just because my dream came true doesn’t mean your dreams can’t come true,” Splond told the seventh grade students.

Splond dreamed of writing books for African American young adults, because she couldn’t find any as a young girl and felt she was meant to fill that gap.

The path to success can be challenging, but hard work pays off, Splond said.

“The road to won’t always be easy,” Splond said. “Don’t limit yourself, don’t think you can’t, because you can.”