Students at Glendale’s P.S. 91 Richard Arkwright School got a special treat on Friday when children’s author Dee Ardelean came to read the first installment of her new short story series, “Pup: A Series of Short Tails.”
Principal Victoria Catalano was extremely happy to have Ardelean at the school because it was the kick-off event for a series of authors coming to P.S. 91.
“This is the first one of these that we’ve done,” she said. “It’s kind of exciting since we’ve never done this before.”
Catalano connected with Ardelean through one of the first-grade teachers, Janet Stojic. Stojic and Ardelean were childhood friends and grew up together in Ridgewood, so when she heard Catalano was looking for an author to come to the school, she reached out to Ardelean, who gladly accepted.
“It is important to give back to the community,” Stojic said. “It is important to acknowledge people who grew up in the neighborhood and what they have done and to grow a sense of community.”
Ardelean currently lives in Astoria and really loved growing up in Ridgewood.
“You are exposed to so many places of the world. There is a lot of culture here,” she said of her hometown. “I enjoyed it a lot.”
Ardelean started out by reading her book, which was the first one she has ever written, to the entire first-grade class who laughed along to the story. After the reading was over Ardelean answered questions from the students and asked them what they thought of the story and what might happen in the next book.
“I thought I would pass out but it was easy,” Ardelean said with a laugh. “I am very thankful.” This was her first time doing a book reading and had a mix of emotions.
“I was amazed when they reached out to me to come and read to the students,” she said. “I was both excited and nervous at the same time. It was a real honor being asked to come. I just felt thrilled.”
Ardelean has had a connection with writing since an early age.
“I always wrote stories while I was growing up,” she said. “It was a place I could get lost in and it made my imagination go crazy. I could express myself better.”
To become a writer, “I did it all independently,” she explained. “It is a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I get to be really creative with everything I do.”
Before the first-graders left the auditorium, they were each given a signed copy of Ardelean’s book as a souvenir. Both the kindergarten and second-grade classes also got to attend a reading session and received copies of the book.
Catalano asked Ardelean if she would come back and do this again for some of the older grades, and the author agreed. Ardelean announced that she is working on a chapter book for older kids.
Evelyn Santoro, the school’s librarian, set up the entire event and was excited to hear that Ardelean would come back and read more of her work for the students. The school also cannot wait for the next author to come and visit.
“It’s really great to have an actual author come to talk to the kids,” Santoro said.