This past spring, Bank Street School for Children welcomed children’s book author Nicole C. Kear as the 2022 Dorothy Carter Writer-In-Residence. Kear, author of the middle-grade novel Foreverland, among other titles for children, was selected for the program by the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature.
Throughout the first two weeks of April, Kear visited fourth grade (9/10s) classrooms to work with students on their creative writing skills, focusing on character development and setting. Students ultimately created a personal narrative on the theme of friendship and had the opportunity to celebrate their finished stories at a family share event, where they each read a portion of their writing to the community.
“The annual Writer-In-Residence program offers students a unique, memorable experience to work alongside a talented author,” said Cynthia Weill, Director, Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. “We were delighted to partner with Nicole Kear to enrich our curriculum and inspire a love for reading, writing, and creativity among Bank Street students.”
As part of the program, Kear guided students through several engaging writing lessons on different concepts, such as how to design personality quirks for more in-depth character development. She also spoke about the writing process, sharing, “In revision, it’s where the magic happens. It’s not glamorous but it’s true.”
At the conclusion of the program, students expressed their appreciation for Kear’s mentorship through thank-you notes.
“I learned to put in quirks, thoughts, sensory details, feelings, and setting. I appreciate how you taught us to do the Writer-In-Residence story better than we would have ever written it on our own,” said one student.
Another student wrote, “I remember when I could not think of a sentence and you helped me. I learned that writing comes from the heart. I appreciate how hard you worked on this with us.”
Kear, who grew up in New York City, wrote the coming-of-age story Foreverland (2020) about 12-year-old Margaret who runs away to her favorite amusement park set outside of the city to escape real-life problems, such as changing friendships and divorcing parents. Inspired by the classic children’s tale Peter Pan, the book draws connections to adventure, magic, and the emotional journey of childhood and growing up.
Additionally, Kear is the author of several published essays and a memoir—Now I See You—in which she shares her personal experience receiving a life-changing diagnosis of a degenerative disease that causes vision loss.
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.