Writer teaches kids to think like an author

Photo by Emma Stone

By Emma Stone

It may have been a rainy Monday morning, but M.L. Tarpley, children’s author, performer and writing instructor, spoke to a room of about 50 and taught children of varied ages how to write their own stories on June 26.

As part of the Summer Reading Fun with Lincoln Parish Library, the Events Center was filled with giggles and eager eyes as Tarpley, a Louisiana Tech alumna, pulled out different props during her interactive show.

“I want to bring smiles and laughter to kids while they, also, learn about the importance of reading, creative writing, story ideas and using their imagination and more,” said Tarpley.

Tarpley’s show featured skits, dance-offs and British accents while some kids were called up to volunteer to act in short plays.

From a young age, Tarpley had always wanted to be an author; the first book that inspired her was “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” by Richard and Florence Atwater.

“I like to encourage kids to dream big and go after their dreams like I did,” said Tarpley. “Through my show, I tell kids more about what it’s like to be an author and what I do.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Tarpley journeyed across countries from Puerto Rico to Egypt to Europe.

“I have traveled a lot of places around the world, but I dearly love my home state of Louisiana,” said Tarpley. “So when I get to do shows and events here, it’s really special.”

The first skit had Tarpley acting as Robin Hood’s daughter while one child played Robin Hood and another played the Sheriff of Nottingham as they both dueled with foam noodles.

The children, then, helped fill out a Mad Libs by having a volunteer call out questions for others to create a story and act out.

“I hope through my show and sharing a bit about my own story, kids will be inspired and encouraged to dream big and go after those dreams,” said Tarpley.

After the show ended, Tarpley featured her work which included her Tales of a Travel-Girl series following 10-year-old Maylie Monte as well as her Young Writer’s Kit.

Each participant was given a free bookmark and a chance to take home a craft. Tarpley’s next show will be from July 19-21 in Bienville Parish.