gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 52

Author’s Corner Literary Legacies… A Focus on Kids Rather than Screens Written By Jordan Rosenfeld David Chappell of Morgan Hill always knew he wanted to do big things. When mental health issues forced him to quit law school in 2009, he found healing in writing a novel called “Age of the Great Prophets,” which he describes as “a Christian end-times science-fiction novel revolving around the discovery of dark matter as an energy resource.” “Through writing the book I was able to find a lot of healing. That was the catalyst that got me back to normalcy,” he said. Chappell graduated from San José State University in 2017 with a Master’s Degree in History and the desire to start a nonprofit organization. He is now earning another degree in nonprofit leadership and management from Arizona State University online. The son of an elementary school teacher (Morgan Hill Unified School District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, Debra Chappell, of Barrett Elementary), he was also interested in working with kids. “I thought maybe I should teach kids how to write a book the same way I did so they can find healing, purpose and agency the same way I did,” he said. By the time Chappell founded his non-profit, Literary Legacies, in March 2017, he’d expanded his vision. “I wanted to create a cultural revolution through the written word, where we would teach kids to write books how we used to, and not be so much focused on phones and tablets.” Through one-on-one mentoring with individual students, Chappell and his volunteers walk students through the process of writing, editing, and then publishing a book. The first book Literary Legacies published was “The Boy Battle,” by Riyani Patel, who was in Sixth Grade at the time. This was followed by “The Runaway Fairy,” by Fifth Grade student, Veronica Taylar. And the most recently-published book was “Wild Journey,” by Alysa Marcial, a Fifth Grade student at Barrett Elementary School in Morgan Hill. Marcial was excited about the idea of writing a book. “I really liked how he thought that kids can write books so they could get off technology,” the 10-year-old said. “At first I was really shy but then the more sessions I went through with him, it was pretty fun.” Marcial, who loves animals, particularly wolves, dogs and horses, made her protagonist a young wolf, named Stella, who “goes through a lot of hard times.” Stella’s parents and siblings have passed away and only she has survived. “She got kicked out of her pack when she was really young, and had to survive on her own.” Stella befriends a bear and together they survive. To get started, Chappell said they begin with a rough outline of the story’s beginning, middle and end. Marcial began her book in March of 2018 and finished it by the end of the school year in June. They worked together once a week for an hour at a time. Each student’s process is slightly different. It may take 12 sessions or it may take 25, Chappell said. He does not put a page count cap on the students, so they are free to chart their own story course. Marcial enjoyed the process “because I like using my imagination to create books.” When finished, she said, “It just feels awesome to finish the book and get it published.” She would recommend the process to her friends. “It’s better to write a book than play [video] games because when you’re writing book you can use your imagination, you can create your own thing; you won’t be staring at a screen.” In addition to helping kids pause their screen time, Chappell said the process bestows other benefits such as self-confidence, the ability to write creatively, and to be able to take on and complete long-term tasks, which can all benefit the work they do in school. “When she gets to Fifth Grade and has to write her twenty-page white book, it will be no problem,” Chappell said. “Or when she gets to middle school and has to start writing essays.” Chappell still remembers the “complete exhilaration and satisfaction” he felt when he finished his own book. Seeing that same expression on his students’ faces drives him to keep doing this work. Chappell’s long-term vision is to have numerous sister organizations that could spread this process throughout the Bay Area, and eventually the world, “to get kids into writing books again.” Marcial, whose family now calls her “the famous author,” has a sequel in mind for her book and feels buoyed by her own accomplishment. Meanwhile, Chappell is always looking for volunteers. More information can be found at: LiteraryLegacies.org Alysa Marcial 52 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 gmhtoday.com Author’s Corner Literary Legacies… A Focus on Kids Rather than Screens Written By Jordan Rosenfeld D avid Chappell of Morgan Hill always knew he wanted to do big things. When mental health issues forced him to quit law school in 2009, he found healing in writing a novel called “Age of the Great Prophets,” which he describes as “a Christian end-times science-fi ction novel revolving around the discovery of dark matter as an energy resource.” “Through writing the book I was able to find a lot of healing. That was the catalyst that got me back to normalcy,” he said. Chappell graduated from San José State University in 2017 with a Master’s Degree in History and the desire to start a nonprofit organization. He is now earning another degree in non- profit leadership and management from Arizona State University online. The son of an elementary school teacher (Morgan Hill Unified School District’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, Debra Chappell, of Barrett Elementary), he was also interested in working with kids. “I thought maybe I should teach kids how to write a book the same way I did so they can find healing, purpose and agency the same way I did,” he said. By the time Chappell founded his non-profit, Literary Legacies, in March 2017, he’d expanded his vision. “I wanted to create a cultural revolution through the written word, where we would teach kids to write books how we used to, and not be so much focused on phones and tablets.” Through one-on-one mentoring with individual students, Chappell and his volunteers walk students through the process of writing, editing, and then publishing a book. 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