February is "I Love to Read Month," a time to celebrate reading, writing and books.... and Sigma's Bookshelf has been invited to visit seven Twin Cities Schools to lead the presentation, "Empowering Teen Writers to Become Published Authors.”
Our first presentation happened towards the end of January at Maple Grove Middle School late enough in the day that company founder, teen author Justin M. Anderson, was able to get out of school early to lead the presentation. The others are being led by his mom and company co-founder Rachel M. Anderson.
Each presentation has been started with a writing exercise designed to get students’ creative juices flowing. We provide a piece of paper with a picture of the Sigma’s Bookshelf mascot on it, and ask the kids to write a paragraph about the character. Here are a few of the stories written by the 7th and 8th graders at Hopkins North Junior High in Hopkins, Minn.
Sigma is a dragon that always grew up listening to children’s stories. One day he decided to write his own. It got popular with millions of dragon children around the world, so that’s when he created his own publishing company called Sigma’s Bookshelf.”
This is Sigma. It has no age and it has existed forever. Since the beginning of time it has been living off pure light. Only now has it started interacting with other living beings, and it rarely shows its face. Only a select few have ever seen it. Those who have suddenly feel a sort of indescribable light feeling. It inspired them to do something amazing. Sigma chooses people who it sees potential in.”
There once was a man named Sigma. Sigma believed in equality and everyone being the same, but he was bullied as a child. He was different. He didn’t have white skin like the other children of the Khulu Tribe. He had black skin and purple hair. His parents claimed that he was beautiful in his own way. He learned that appearance doesn’t matter and he should accept who he is. Now he runs a program to help other teens be who they are. He publishes books for them for free.”
Sigma is a mythical creature. He is a good character who likes to help out. He comes out at night mostly and less during the day.”
He is half monster and half human. So sometimes he likes to eat humans and sometimes he likes to eat cheese.”
This little guy, Sigma, is the gremlin who lives in the laundry machine, stealing everyone’s left sock.”
This guy is a monster who lives in a swamp and sometimes snatches people from the streets. He can kill anyone or anything. He is Invincible.”
Sigma is a dragon that's actually very friendly, but misunderstood.
He used to be a human but under a cure was turned into a vile creature.
A monster, likes books and writing. He's very friendly and likes people; extrovert, just wants everyone to be happy.
Some sort of dragon/human hybrid. He has a good counterpart, but he is evil, like you can just tell.
Although he looks menacing, he is actually friendly and easy going. He scares people off sometimes due to his appearance. Sigma is a pretty cool guy!
In addition to the writing exercise, we are also educating kids on the publishing industry, talking about traditional, vanity and self-publishing, and also outlining how Sigma’s Bookshelf works. The company exclusively publishes the work of teen authors between the ages of 13 - 19 at no cost to them. Volunteers work with the teen authors to edit their stories, then once they are ready for publication, takes care of proofreading, formatting, cover design and upload to a print-on-demand service. All of the services provided are 100 percent free for teen authors whose books are selected for publication. As books sells, the teen authors receive royalties.
Maple Grove Middle School, Maple Grove, MN - Tues., Jan. 16
South View Middle School, Edina, MN - Thurs., Feb. 1
Hopkins North Jr, High, Hopkins, MN - Thurs., Feb. 8 & Fri., Feb. 9
Dassel-Cokato Middle School, Dassel, MN, Feb. 13
Armstrong High School, Plymouth, MN, Thurs., Feb. 15
School of Environmental Studies, Apple Valley, MN, Fri., Feb. 16
Southwest Middle School, Albert Lea, MN - Tues., Feb. 27