Author of historical nonfiction shares writing lessons
Posted on 04/22/2019
Steven Smith speaks to Covington-Harper studentsCovington-Harper Elementary School students have been captivated by Steven K. Smith’s “Virginia Mysteries Series.” Smith’s visit to the school sparked even more excitement for the popular adventure stories that are set at historical sites in Virginia.

Smith’s books are ideal for students ages 7-12 and closely align to the Virginia social studies and reading SOLs. The students enjoyed hearing about Smith's writing process and were excited to see his photos of the historical settings featured in his books. “The students were able to hear how Smith uses his revision process and all the steps involved in the writing and publishing process,” said school Librarian Jill Tulloss.   

"He provided cool writing tips and cool information," said Kei, a fifth-grader.

Fourth-graders have been reading “Shadows at Jamestown,” a Virginia Reader’s Choice 2019-20 title from the Virginia State Readers Association. The book has present-day student characters visiting the location of the first English settlement in the Americas, Jamestown, Virginia, to help with an archaeological dig.  Tulloss explained, “The fourth-grade curriculum includes a study of Jamestown, so the interest and background knowledge are valuable as we read the book.”  

Fifth-graders are listening to “Spies at Mount Vernon” during their weekly library time. The student characters in this book visit the National Mall and the Capitol in Washington, D.C., but the story has them traveling to nearby historic Mount Vernon.

“I feel it is important that students meet actual authors and to be able to hear and visualize the author when they read other books by that author,” Tulloss shared. 

Fifth-grader Aslynn said, “I like that his books have adventure and also nonfiction."

There are seven books in Smith’s “Virginia Mysteries Series.” Smith is also known for his “Brother Wars’” nonfiction books that feature two adventurous brothers.