Young Authors' Conferences

Writing Enrichment

Monroe County ISD offers several options for young writers to explore and develop writing skills. Students throughout the county have the opportunity to attend the Young Authors' Conference and the NaNo WriMo Secondary Authors' Conference.

Ruth McNally Barshaw

A life-long writer and artist, Ruth McNally Barshaw, has worked in the advertising field, illustrated for newspapers, and won numerous essay-writing contests. She has written and illustrated The Ellie McDoodle Diaries, a series of 6 highly acclaimed books for children.  She has also illustrated the picture book, Leopold the Lion and a new book entitled, There’s No Base Like Home.   She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her family.  She and her husband, Charlie, travel widely teaching writing, illustration, and story – creation workshops to students and teachers.  For more information on Ms. Barshaw, visit her website at:

About the Session

Ms. Barshaw sketches as she talks with the students and they watch her on the screen and draw along.  Depending upon the grade level, she will concentrate on interactive storytelling; how to make illustrations from words; the need for perseverance and attitude in developing writing skills; and the importance of keeping journals and revision.  

The “jewel of the hour” will be the story creation segment where once students will have drawn a character, they will brainstorm traits, setting, props, friends and enemies. Ms. Barshaw will sketch a whirlwind of pages of the story and leave the students hanging to finish the story in the classroom or individually.

The session will be highly engaging and interactive and is sure to motivate students’ efficacy about writing.  There will also be time devoted to students sharing excerpts of their stories and art with other students.