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Author visits Mt. Juliet Elementary

Xavier Smith • Updated Oct 27, 2016 at 2:00 PM

A local author helped Mt. Juliet Elementary School celebrate “Nerd Day” on Wednesday as she spoke to fourth and fifth grade students about her latest work.

Tracy Barrett, of Nashville, spoke to the school’s entire fourth and fifth grade student body, as well as smaller classroom groups, about her latest book, The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard.

Barrett has written 21 books since about 1994 and her collection includes books about Nat Turner and the slave rebellion, The Odyssey as told through the eyes of Odysseus’ 17-year-old son, Cinderella and The Sherlock Files series.

Barrett served as the regional advisor for the Midsouth Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1999-2009 and has taught courses on writing for children and on children’s literature at various institutions. She resigned from Vanderbilt University in 2012, where she taught Italian, women’s studies, English and humanities.

Barrett spoke to students during a morning presentation about her journey as an author and her motivation for writing some of her books. She noted she is in the process of writing her 22nd and 23rd book.

Students asked several questions, including when she first started writing, her favorite book growing up and the amount of time it takes to write a book.

Barrett said the shortest amount of time it took for her to write a book was 6 weeks when she was approached to write a state book about Virginia. She also highlighted that some of her works have taken years to complete.

Barrett noted her favorite book growing up was The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Barrett continued her talk with a few individual classrooms, where students participated in their form of mythmaking. The students used constellations to draw something they saw in the stars – animals, people and other things.

Barrett explained that in Greek mythology, designating someone to be a constellation is a way to keep someone alive. The students then voted on one drawn item to create myths of their own.

Students also received an autographed copy of The Song of Orpheus during Barrett’s visit.

For more information about Barrett and her works, visit http://www.tracybarrett.com

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