St. Louis author Ryan Dalton engaged Ritenour Middle School (RMS) seventh-graders on Nov. 11 with his adventures as a writer. He shared how his newest novel, "The Last Adventure," reflects, in part, the adventures he and his family had with his grandfather while his Alzheimer's progressed.
When his grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s a few years ago, Dalton heard many meaningful stories from family and friends about his grandfather’s life and the impact he had on so many people.
“It was my mother who encouraged me to take those stories and write a book about them,” said Dalton.
Dalton’s special relationship with his grandfather, working through the difficult times as his grandfather’s Alzheimer’s progressed, and the stories he heard at the time of his funeral led to writing “The Last Adventure.”
During his presentation, Dalton shared some of his personal stories about being a writer.
I write a lot of my books at local coffee shops,” said Dalton. “But I have to be careful because sometimes when I really get into my writing, I begin to make faces as I write.”
He also reminded students that each of them have potential to become authors.
“Everyone has ideas that can become stories,” he said. “Authors train themselves to catch and use those stories.”
Dalton’s other books geared toward middle school readers include the Time Shift Trilogy ("The Genesis Flame," "The Black Tempest" and "The Year of Lightning").
RMS librarian Carin Rook said Dalton’s visit was a wonderful experience for students.
“It is important that students have an opportunity to know how stories are created,” Rook said. “Ryan Dalton shared some real-life strategies he uses when creating his books. Having a published author share his secrets with us was really amazing.”
In October, RMS sixth-graders were treated to storytelling in American Sign Language by local performer Trix Bruce. Her performance was sponsored by St. Louis County Library during their Storytelling Festival.
Plans are underway for a special reading event for RMS eighth-graders later this school year.