School for Children Welcomes Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich as 10th Annual Writer-In-Residence

This spring, Bank Street School for Children welcomed children’s book author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich as the 2024 Dorothy Carter Writer-In-Residence, marking a milestone tenth year for the program. Rhuday-Perkovich, who is the author of numerous acclaimed children’s books, was chosen for the residency by the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature for her passion for writing for and working with children.

Fourth-grade (9/10s) students with 2024 Writer-In-Residence Olugbemisola Rhuday-PerkovichThroughout April, Rhuday-Perkovich visited fourth-grade (9/10s) classrooms to facilitate several workshops on creative writing, with a focus on character development. Students began by exploring their own personas, qualities, and characteristics and, later, learned to utilize a framework for writing a story, helping them craft their own narratives.

“Olugbemisola’s visit nurtured the students’ creativity and empowered them all to see themselves as authors,” said Natasha Gilmore, Associate Teacher, School for Children. “Our students are so proud of what they accomplished and that confidence boost has carried over across academic subjects. It was inspiring to see Olugbemisola work with students, and our classroom of authors continue to inspire us with everything they were able to bring forward and create from their work with her.”

Fourth-grade (9/10s) students with 2024 Writer-In-Residence Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

To celebrate their work at the end of the program, students read a favorite excerpt from their writing during a family share event with their parents, classmates, and teachers.

One School for Children parent said about the event, “It was impressive to see all the passion and creativity from each author.”

Rhuday-Perkovich also expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm: “It was wonderful to be with such a creative, committed, and caring group of students and educators. Thank you all for offering such a warm, welcoming, energizing, and creative space. It was a true joy to participate in the family share event. I know you’ve all worked so hard to create that kind of beautiful community, and it shows in so many ways.”

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich sharing a photo of an excited child to show how she feels when developing a new character
How Rhuday-Perkovich feels when developing a new character

The Writer-In-Residence program sparked significant engagement and joy among students, who approached writing with excitement and confidence as they developed their stories and shared their work.

“The entire writing process was very student-driven as the kids worked on their stories with little prompting and were very proud and eager to share,” said Emma Hofman, Head Teacher, School for Children, and Grace Ginther, Associate Teacher, School for Children. “We can also clearly see a transfer in creative writing skills and knowledge as they have started writing journal entries in our social studies unit. They are writing from the perspective of a made-up, but historically accurate character, who will embark on an immigration journey to a new country.”

Additionally, Cynthia Weill, Director, Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature, shared that “Olugbemisola’s beautifully articulated and thoughtful curriculum, as well as tremendous encouragement, truly inspired the best creative material out of our 9/10s students.”

Rhuday-Perkovich is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award-nominated author and co-author of several children’s books, including Operation Sisterhood, It Doesn’t Take a Genius, and Two Naomis. In addition to middle-grade novels, she writes picture books, easy readers, and nonfiction.

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. The residency was endowed ten years ago by Arlene Mark, Former Bank Street Trustee, and Carol Carter, daughter of Dorothy Carter.