In April, Bank Street School for Children welcomed children’s book author Karina Yan Glaser as the 2023 Dorothy Carter Writer-In-Residence, an annual program in which an acclaimed author works with fourth grade (9/10s) students on their writing skills and creativity. Glaser, author of the bestselling New York Times middle-grade series The Vanderbeekers, was chosen for the program by the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature.
Throughout the residency, Glaser facilitated workshops on various topics, such as the development of a setting and the process of drafting and revising, with an emphasis on journaling. Students explored the connection between reflective and creative writing by reviewing journals of famous artists and writers like Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, and Anne Frank, as well as Glaser’s own journal routines.
“Our students engaged in extensive journaling during the residency. We particularly loved the connection Karina made when she compared artists’ sketchbooks with final paintings and the journals of famous authors with final pieces of text. It helped cement in students’ minds the multi-layered process of writing and the steps it takes to create excellent work,” said Doug Knecht, Dean of Children’s Programs and Head of the School for Children.
As part of the Writer-In-Residence program, students showcased their journals and shared an excerpt with their classmates and parents at a family share event.
During the family share, students expressed words of gratitude for Karina’s guidance in a video compilation screened at the event. One student said, “Thank you so much for teaching me to have fun with my writing. It really helped me to improve and become a better writer.”
Another student said, “You really made me more confident and now, I write in my journal every day.”
“Thank you, Karina, for helping me. I feel that I want to be a better writer and, in my future career, I think I might want to be a writer too,” said another student.
Glaser also joined the event to hear students share their projects and speak about the content of her residency and other observations from the experience. Glaser said, “I’ve been thinking about some adjectives to describe Bank Street students, and I came up with the following: curious, well-read, energetic, smart, and thoughtful. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this very special tradition at Bank Street. And to the 9/10s—keep reading, continue writing in your journals, and keep being curious!”
The family share event closed with a gathering in the Bank Street lobby for students and their families, teachers, and other members of the community to view student work.
“Bank Street’s Writer-In-Residence program empowers young writers in fourth grade, providing them with a special opportunity to work closely with a prominent author and hone their creative writing skills,” said Cynthia Weill, Director, Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. “We have had some wonderful artists join us over the years, and I think we can all safely say that this has been another exceptional year.”
The Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence program invites a prominent author to work with School for Children students each year in the spring. The program was established in 2015 and honors Dorothy Carter, Bank Street’s first African American faculty member, writer of highly acclaimed children’s books, chair of the Bank Street Writers Lab, and Broadway actress.