Students and staff recently enjoyed a virtual visit with Jessie Ann Foley, acclaimed author from Chicago. The visit was promoted by the GAHS Library Commons Book Club, GAHS Tigers Create!, and Gardiner Public Library. Her novel, Sorry for Your Loss, is one of the titles featured in the North Star YA Award collection, a joint project of the Maine Library Association, Maine Association of School Libraries, and Maine Literacy Council. The GAHS Library Commons is promoting these titles to encourage reading for fun and to join other Maine high school students in voting for a statewide favorite YA book. Foley’s North Star title was selected by the Library Commons Book Club as a recent group read.
The visit was open to students and staff who had read Jessie Ann Foley’s Sorry for Your Loss and to those who wanted to know more about creativity, her writing craft, and being an author. Foley did a lot of research about photography to help the main character “find the emergency inside of him waiting to be expressed.” She highlighted that “creativity is already inside each of us waiting to be developed like a latent image.”
Junior Logan Eastman asked Foley how to develop a good character. She responded that when she creates a character she tries to imagine what would be placed in a purse, backpack, bag or front pocket. Senior Val Kenney has been putting this advice into action in her own writing and said, “It is simple but genius. It is revolutionary!”
Students and staff were able to ask their burning questions about Sorry For Your Loss. They heard Foley’s inspiration for the book, the journey of the various drafts, and what she learned along the way. Along with discussing her titles, she shared some of her other favorite young adult reads. Attendees left the visit inspired to create and read. Foley’s book is certainly a strong contender in this year’s voting for the North Star YA Book Award.