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Author Shoulders reads to children, talks about how books are published

Children gathered around the tables, squirming in their seats as author Michael Shoulders told stories and jokes about what he does for a living.

The Non-Traditional Student Center partnered with the Govs Programming Council to bring Shoulders to APSU as part of Non-Traditional Student Week on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at a luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. Shoulders brought copies of his recent children’s books to read and discuss with the children.

“We had a magician the past two years we’ve done this,” coordinator of GPC Martha Harper said. “We wanted to try something different this year, so we found [Shoulders] online.”

Shoulders has earned three degrees from APSU, and eventually became a teacher, writing books in his spare time.

Shoulders spoke to the children about the process of publishing his books, explaining how he never directly talks with the illustrator of his books.

“I don’t talk to my illustrator at all,” he told the children. “The company decides who the illustrator is.”

He also talked about the steps he takes when writing his books, from his rough drafts and all the revisions he makes along the way to publication.

Harper said keeping the non-traditional student in mind is crucial to creating events they would participate in, and children are a significant factor in this decision.

“If I want to have relevant programming for non-traditional students, we must welcome children to campus,” she said.

Shoulders also showed the children one of his latest books, “V is for Volunteer: A Tennessee Alphabet,” and performed a rap of the book for the students to sing along.

Shoulders also discussed unusual or exciting houses he travelled to and facts about the Titanic.

Junior computer science major Tera Murphey brought her daughter to the luncheon.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to go to events like these before,” Murphey said. “[My daughter] is just learning how to read.”

Murphey said she has gone to G.H.O.S.T. for the past three years, and enjoyed bringing her daughter to the luncheon.

“I would definitely go again,” Murphey said.

Harper said she wants to continue hosting events like the luncheon in the future.

“It exposes these children to college life, and helps set that expectation,” she said. “We want to find ways to show Little Govs campus life.”

About Andrew Wadovick

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