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Author Josh Funk Visits WES

The energy was palpable (and loud) as over 300 WES hybrid and Online Academy students joined a jam-packed, school-wide Zoom call on December 11th. Not only was it a Friday afternoon and almost time for the weekend, but students and teachers were excited to meet author Josh Funk! After some technical delays, Mr. Funk, or Josh as he will go by here, joined the call and jumped right in, beginning with the inspiration for his book, "Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast".

When asking his kids one day, "What do you want for breakfast?" and getting "pancakes" as a response from one and "french toast" from the other, the idea for his book was born. He read the book and talked about the awesome illustrations by Brendan Kearney and the great collaboration that they shared in making it.

Josh Funk reading from his book during author visit.  Author Josh Funk reading from his book during his virtual visit to WES.  Author Josh Funk reading during his virtual visit to WES

Josh started writing children's books at age 32. He considered himself a "math and science kid" while growing up in New England, but he always loved to write outside of school for fun and entertainment - including creating his own Garbage Pail Kids cards. He wrote poems about some of his favorite Boston professional athletes and songs, as he also played guitar. 

During college he studied math, science, and computer science and since then has worked as a software engineer, writing code for his "day job".

He loved reading books to his two kids while they were growing up (now in grades 7 & 10) and discovered so many awesome ones, on a range of subjects, including architecture, as shown here.

Josh Funk with Iggy Peck Architest

He was inspired to write his own, influenced by his own experiences and interests, including a series on coding!

Author Josh Funk with his book How to Code a Sandcastle.

Students had the opportunity to ask questions. Josh gave his two tips on what you need to become a writer:

1. Know the alphabet.

2. Be able to tell a good story. (To know how to tell a good story? Read. A LOT of stories. That is the most important thing to be a better writer, Josh shared.)

And his third tip: Practice. Josh has written over a hundred stories. Not all of them are going to be books, he said, but the practice helps him become a better writer. And some of those books helps him explore his very silly side!

Students in Mrs. Haley's class during Josh Funk author visit.

Josh then gave a sneak peak into his new book, "My Pet Feet", depicting a world where the letter "R" has mysteriously disappeared and how it affected everything and everyone. Flying crows became flying cows, a pet ferret became pet feet, and and go carts became go cats. He read a few pages, showing some of the early sketches by Brendan. 

Author Josh Funk reading from his upcoming book during his virtual visit to WES.    Author Josh Funk reading from his upcoming book.

For Josh, his best ideas come to him right before he falls asleep, so he keeps a pencil and writing pad next to his bed to jot them down. And he encouraged any would-be-writers in the audience to do the same. 

When asked what his favorite book that he wrote is, he said that it is whatever book he is going to write next. WES students are looking forward to that book and many more!

At the end of his talk, Josh asked the students to give a big round of applause for their teachers and for all they are doing for them! A special thanks to WES librarian Mrs. Chafetz, Joni O'Connor from the WES PTO, and Children's Book World for coordinating such a fun event! It was a great start to the weekend.