Christopher Wright, better known as Johnathan Rand to our area’s third graders, spoke to more than 500 young readers at the Kirtland Center for the Performing Arts on the Roscommon campus on Thursday, May 1. Students from all elementary schools in Crawford, Ogemaw, Oscoda and Roscommon counties had the opportunity to listen to Rand speak, ask the author questions and get copies of their personal books autographed.
Wright, under the pseudonym Johnathan Rand, is the author of the popular Michigan Chillers and American Chillers horror fiction series aimed at young readers in grades three through six. In his presentation Thursday, Rand shared information on his love of reading and writing. Using humor to engage his audience, Rand led the students through his own journey of schooling, jobs and becoming a renowned children’s author.
“Reading is not something you do. Reading is a place that you GO,” Rand shared with his captivated audience. “When you pick up a book ask yourself where is this book going to take me? You can go anywhere in the world that you want from where you are.”
The students were especially quick to explore and embrace what is perhaps Rand’s most thought provoking insight on the power of reading. “Books don’t have covers. They have doors,” shared Rand. “When you open a book, you are actually opening a door to new places and every single book in the library is a place that you can go.”
Christopher Wright was born in Pontiac, Mich., and moved to Grayling when he was in fourth grade, where he graduated from Grayling High School in 1982. A love of the outdoors led him to Kirtland Community College to study Natural Resources Technology. As a former Kirtland student, Wright will also act as the guest speaker at the college’s forty-fifth commencement ceremony on May 2. To benefit the community’s younger learners, Kirtland arranged to have Rand give an author’s presentation to third grade students from eight local elementary schools. Kirtland also provided a transportation stipend to help the school districts offset the travel costs to attend this potentially once-in-a-life-time event.
Rand wrote his first book, Mayhem on Mackinac Island, in 2000. Now, as a nationally-renowned author, Wright/Rand has more 4 million books in publication and is best known for his Michigan Chillers and American Chillers horror fiction book series for children in third to sixth grades. In addition, Rand’s works also include 10 Freddie Fernortner books (for first and second graders), three Adventure Club Series (for third to sixth graders) and six adult books under the pseudonym Christopher Knight.
Annually, more than 3,000 students attend a variety of occupational, skilled trades, two-year and transfer degree programs at Kirtland’s locations near Roscommon, Kirtland-Gaylord, Kirtland-West Branch and in Tawas. Kirtland also offers a wide range of online courses and degrees, all of which can be completed from home.
To learn more about Kirtland’s veteran-friendly services, programs, advising, testing, financial aid, transfer agreements, university partnerships and other services available to students, contact Michelle Devine, Admissions Coordinator, at 989-275-5000, ext. 284 or visit http://www.kirtland.edu.