Author Extraordinaire: Nnedi Okorafor Inspires Students at TAISM
During the week of October 8-12, students from KG to 8th grade spent time with this year’s visiting author, Nnedi Okorafor. Dr. Okorafor kicked off her TAISM visit on Sunday with an assembly for grades 4-8, regaling the students with stories of her childhood before explaining how a spinal surgery in college left her paralyzed from the waist down, derailing her athletic aspirations while simultaneously charting a different career path as an author.
Over the remainder of the week, ES and MS students had opportunities to interact with Dr. Okorafor on a more intimate level, as she visited numerous classes and held smaller assemblies. She spoke to a wide range of topics, generally diversifying her sessions by deftly reacting to students’ interests. She read aloud her children’s book Chicken in the Kitchen in two smaller assemblies, one with KG and 1st graders, the other with 2nd and 3rd graders, followed by answering their questions about what it’s like to be an author. For 4th and 5th graders, Dr. Okorafor talked about the process of creating books, leaving students awestruck at the amount of time and number of potential revisions that go into the creation of one novel. Working in the classroom with 6th graders, she began a read aloud of book two of her Nebula and Hugo award-winning Binti trilogy, discussing with them the process of writing books in a series and encouraging them on their upcoming fantasy writing unit. For 7th and 8th graders, she answered a wide range of questions, everything from the intricacies of book creation to the money authors make when their novels get optioned by major streaming studios.
On Friday, October 13, Dr. Okorafor spent time at the Let’s Read Bookstore in the Oman Avenues Mall, participating in book signings and giving away books to local Omani children who came with their families to hear about her experiences as an author. She joined bookstore owner Jane Jaffer in a Q & A format for all interested attendees.
A very big, enthusiastic appreciation goes out to the U.S. embassy for sponsoring Dr. Okorafor’s visit to Muscat. In a collaborative project that began over one year ago, they played an essential role in allowing TAISM to host such a renowned and critically-acclaimed author to inspire not only TAISM students but also children in the greater Muscat community.