Yesterday we enjoyed an awesome Skype with Kristin Rocha, author of the Bearhaven series of books! Miss Rocha started off by reading the first chapter.
After that she told us a bit about the background story. We learned that the main character, Spencer, goes to this special safe place that his parents set up for bears. In this place, the bears can talk! Edward guessed correctly that the special necklace the bear was wearing was a communication device.
Then Miss Rocha played a game with the students called, "Two Truths and a Lie." She listed 3 facts and they had to guess which 2 were the truths and which was the lie. The students also learned how to count in the special bear language that they speak in the book. We found out that Miss Rocha works with a team to help her come up with the idea for her story, and then she writes it herself. She shared her first page of the first draft and then what it looked like after the editor sent it back.
She spent a month editing it - all 200 hundred pages - and then got these revisions back the 2nd time!
When it was all said and done, she had to do 10 revisions before it was finished! It took her about a year to write the book, another year to revise it, and a third year for the publication process.
We learned that she worked with both a bear biologist and a linguist to help her as she wrote this series. At the end we got to ask a few questions. We found out that she does not get to choose what the cover of her book looks like. We asked why she goes by K.E. Rocha and not Kristin Rocha and she said one reason was that she loved J.K. Rowling stories growing up so she modeled her name after that. The students really had a fun time and learned a lot. As soon as we finished the call, I had 26 kids fighting for the 4 copies of the book I had in the room. Several of them couldn't wait to get home and start reading it. I told them I'd send out a March Scholastic flyer in a few weeks in case they wanted to order their own copy. You can learn more on the Bearhaven website which includes games and a cooking show! Special thanks to Miss Rocha for doing this Skype for us for free! You can see some video from our session below. Please forgive my weak videography skills!