Author Mary Bleckwehl reads her book, “Claire’s Hair” to kindergartners, first graders and second graders.
JORDAN GERARD/SGH Author Mary Bleckwehl reads her book, “Claire’s Hair” to kindergartners, first graders and second graders.
February has many themes including Black History Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Bird-Feeding Month, but it also has themes for reading like “I Love to Read” month and students at Spring Grove were treated to an author visit last week.

Children’s author Mary Bleckwehl talked to K-6 students in two different sessions about the writing process, illustrators, where ideas come from, how to get started writing and even how a book is made. Later, she read them one of her books, “Claire’s Hair.”

To the afternoon session of kindergarteners, first graders and second graders she told them an anecdote about her golden doodle eating a book for his breakfast. The kids enjoyed that story.

Bleckwehl also told the students about how she got started in writing.

“My second grade teacher, Mrs. Winters, hardly ever assigned us homework,” she explained. “When she did, we were excited. But this particular homework assignment that I remember was a writing assignment, and I was not excited about that.”

Her assignment was to write a story about aliens. Having no former knowledge about aliens, young Bleckwehl dreaded the assignment until her mother suggested Mrs. Winters meant for her to use imagination.

“I said, ‘I can do that,’ and I’ve been writing ever since,” she said.

Bleckwehl had the students guess at what her kindergarten teacher gave her as a present. After answers of pens, pencils, books and food, Bleckwehl told them it was teaching her how to read.

“We use it every day for the rest of our lives,” she said. “I read the directions on how to get to your school.

Talking about the writing process, she used a magic scarf that changed colors and explained to the kids that as they change, so does their writing.

As students grow older, eventually they learn to connect letters into words, into sentences and into paragraphs.

“Everyone is an author just like me,” Bleckwehl said. “We use our words every day.”

The students had fun trying on wigs of curly red hair, which was a feature of Claire in “Claire’s Hair.” They also tried on costumes from her other book, “Henry! You’re Hungry Again?”

After reading “Claire’s Hair,” Bleckwehl took questions from the students. One asked how a book is made. She explained the cover is made first, then the pages are printed and sewn together. Those pages are glued into the cover and bound together.

The media center received a poster about acts of kindness, which reflected the lessons in “Claire’s Hair” and teachers received copies of coloring posters.

“I hope the rest of February brings you a lot of good stories,” Bleckwehl told the students.

The visit was capped off by a book signing from Bleckwehl.