By JACQUELINE PRIMO | Assistant Managing Editor
As part of Seven Arrows Elementary School’s Annual Literary Festival, which began on Friday, Dec. 4, children’s book author Matt Ward visited the campus’ art room-turned-bookstore on Thursday, Dec. 10.
Ward is one of several authors who have visited the school for the Literary Festival, which has also included a pop-up bookstore as well as classes on indigo dying, candle making and flower arranging—all free for the public.
During Ward’s visit, the author treated Seven Arrows fifth- and sixth-graders to a few pages of his book “The Fantastic Family Whipple.” It is the first in his series about Arthur Whipple, “the most extraordinary, ordinary boy on earth,” Ward told the room of captivated students and teachers alike.
Despite the fact that “the Whipple family has broken more world records than any family on Earth,” Ward continued, Arthur is the only member of his family to never have broken a world record.
The book’s colorful and detailed cover art sent many a students’ hands into the air, prodding Ward with questions about the record-breaking-feats of various characters—the accomplishments of some Ward withheld, encouraging the students to read the books to find out.
In addition to reading from the series’ first installment, Ward also gave four student volunteers the opportunity to attempt to break a world record of their own for the most coins placed in a paper cup using only a straw in their mouths, the other hand behind their backs, and in the span of only 30 seconds.
“I myself have been failing world records almost my whole life,” Ward told the students before showing a video of himself with 3-year-old son Henry as he, blindfolded, attempted to break the record for most M&M candies eaten with chopsticks in one minute.
Ward said from handwriting the first page of his manuscript to having his book published took him eight years, citing his own firsthand experience as a lesson in following your dreams, even if it takes a little longer than you might initially think.
“Keep at it—even if you’re slow,” Ward said.
For more information about Matt Ward and “The Fantastic Family Whipple” books, visit fantasticfamilywhipple.com.