Maple Hill 7th grade ELA classes had a rare opportunity to work with the author of the book they were reading in class!

Jana Laiz recently joined students both in-person and virtually as they read her novel, Weeping Under This Same Moon. Set in 1979, the book tells the story of Mei, a 19-year-old Vietnamese refugee, and Hannah, a 17-year-old high school student, who helps her adjust to life in America. Jana participated in discussions with the students about the plot and characters of her novel, all while sharing her personal connections to the events described in the book. In fact, she even inspired some of the 7th graders to help refugees themselves.

It was clear Jana and her book made a strong connection with the students. When they completed Art Biography projects based on the novel’s protagonists one student asked for her to sign their project and another asked her to sign their cast.

Said another student (Emma) of the book and her experience reading it:

I’ve read many books, but none of them have moved me and made me want to make a difference. Weeping Under This Same Moon was so good I stayed up till three in the morning reading this book. When I finished it I wished it wasn’t over. This book grabbed ahold of me and wouldn’t let me put it down. This is by far the most heartfelt, impactful, and overall the best book I’ve read. It brought tears to my eyes. With Jana’s writing skills this book dazzled me. I’ve read it almost four times, I can’t get enough of it.

After school, Jana even generously led a writing workshop for interested students. They brought in their own written work to share and responded to writing prompts from Jana, leading to many fun discussions about stories created on the spot.

Many thanks to Jana for her collaborating with our students and giving them this rare opportunity to work with an author of a book they connected with! Also thanks to Ms. Fowler for making such an awesome opportunity happen.