Established in 2018 in honor of long-time ESD English Teacher Bill Cook, the Bill Cook Endowment supports a visiting writers' program for middle school students. This year, the endowment's visiting writer was Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil series, soon to be a major motion picture by Netflix in 2022. Many middle school students have read his series, as well as his newest book, Beasts and Beauty, making him a desirable choice for this year's visiting writer.
To prepare for Mr. Chainani's visit, interested students read his latest book & discussed the fairytale genre.
Students in grades 7-12 were able to visit virtually with Mr. Chainani to learn about his history in writing, his newest books, and his advice for their own writing. "When I was your age, fairy tales spoke to me in a deep way," he said. Growing up with his two siblings, Chainani remembers complaining that they were bored - after asking for a Nintendo to occupy their time, his grandparents instead opted to purchase them all the Disney classics on VHS. "Disney became the fabric of my brain - it's how I learned fairy tales."
Chainani then discussed how he took that inspiration and began writing his own versions of fairy tales in his latest book, Beasts and Beauty. Students were able to ask questions about his writing process, maintaining motivation, and even his plans for future books.
"The things you love now are going to be the things you're interested in the rest of your life," Chainani said. "I think I'll probably be writing stories like these the rest of my life."
Special thank you to all involved in making this virtual visit a success!
To learn more about the Bill Cook Endowment or other endowments, please visit our Endowment Page.