On a recent blustery winter day, Columbus author Kate Anderson braved the ice and snow to visit the students at Summit Academy Canton Community School.
Mrs. Anderson read her new book, Gary Grasshopper and His Broken Leg Poppers, to six classrooms of eager students. In spite of the age range of Kindergarten through eighth grade, each class found its own reasons to be intrigued by the story line and the efforts involved in publishing a book.
Gary is adopted by a grasshopper couple and is puzzled by why he isn’t able to jump as high as his brother and the other grasshoppers. When he turns into a butterfly, he soars over the admiring grasshoppers and his family is proud of him.
In the kindergarten class, Elliott said his favorite part was “Where he turned into a butterfly because I like butterflies because they have different colors. Xavier explained that Gary “couldn’t jump because he was just a caterpillar. He never gave up and we should never give up. I can jump very good.”
In the fourth and fifth grade class, Aryanna said, “I loved it because he tried his best. He was just a little bit different.” Austin said, “I like it because his brother never gave up on him.” Grace added, “Gary never gave up.”
Mrs. Anderson asked the students about their own book ideas. Ilya said he’s been thinking “about a puppy that goes on a journey and meets other animals.”
With the author’s encouragement, the students used the butterfly picture to illustrate what profession they would like to be when they grow up. The butterfly wings were decorated with images of a marine biologist, an archeologist or gemologist, a baseball player, a doctor and author, a basketball player, a police officer, an artist and an Army and Navy serviceman.
Mrs. Anderson explained that she wrote the picture book and self-published it through AuthorHouse. She described the steps involving revisions, working with an illustrator and promoting the finished product. Teacher Kelly Shoemaker, who went to high school with the author, arranged for Mrs. Anderson to visit the school.
“We were very excited for the opportunity to bring her to our school,” Mrs. Shoemaker said. “We talk about writing and any time we can bring in an outsider, it really helps the ideas to stick.”
This was Mrs. Anderson’s first visit to a school to talk about her book.
“It has been such a great day,” Mrs. Anderson said. “This school is truly awesome.”
Mrs. Anderson is available for free school visits by contacting Mrs. Shoemaker at