On Wednesday, January 11, the fifth grade had the opportunity to speak with Bryan Chick, author of the Secret Zoo series, via Zoom call in the Forum.
During the call, students had the opportunity to ask Chick questions, his writing process, and the challenges he has faced throughout his career as an author. Originally self-published, Chick took the middle schoolers through his journey of making The Secret Zoo series the sensation it has become.
Chick initially came up with the idea for The Secret Zoo when he was nine years old, and reminded students that“Your ideas right now are very fluid. You all have all this inspiration and you're not critical of the thought. All those things could go on to become something someday.”
Today, the first volume of The Secret Zoo has sold around one million copies and has been translated into five different languages.
“When I was younger, I used to go to the Detroit Zoo by my house. I would imagine this world where all the exhibits were connected and I could go down into the exhibits and I would actually run around from exhibit to exhibit pretending that I existed in this fantasy,” said Chick. “What’s fun about that is this goofy idea that I had when I was just a kid in third or fourth grade went on to become a popular story.”
As a former children’s book editor, GFA’s fifth grade dean Michele Ames has been working with Chick on his upcoming book Wayfinders. Chick says Ames helped tremendously with his storytelling process, and encouraged the fifth graders to never shy away from asking for help, especially when experiencing frequent bouts of writer's block.
On the challenges of writing, Chick says, “When you're doing something creative it actually energizes every area of your brain. Your whole brain becomes alive with activity, which can fatigue you really fast because you're asking so much of it. Many times, the keyboard sort of disappears and you become the story. Those are the magical moments that keep writers writing.”