Author Visit Makes Literature Come Alive at Lynhurst

January 2024

How do educators help make reading exciting and interesting for middle school students?

Lana Reeser, media specialist at Lynhurst 7th & 8th Grade Center, has spent the past 13 years working hard to do just that. Her most recent effort in this regard took place in December, when she invited author John David Anderson to Lynhurst for a two-day visit.

“He has been here before – I believe in 2018,” said Ms. Reeser, “but we had multiple authors come the same day and students got to choose who they saw. Teachers thought Dave gave the best presentation of all of them, so we really wanted to have him back. Also, he lives in Indianapolis and I love to support local authors. He’s written 14 books and almost all of them are in the library.”

Anderson was born and raised in Indianapolis, and received his B.A. in English from Indiana University. His books have become very popular with middle school students.

“I’ve read several of his books and there is a lot of humor in all of them,” said Ms. Reeser. “He does a great job adding a little humor, even to a serious topic, which can be a fine line. You don’t want to make light of a serious topic, but he does a great job of adding just the right amount of humor. He also does a great job capturing the personality of a middle grade student, so I think students can relate to his characters.”

Ms. Reeser wanted Anderson’s books in as many of her students’ hands as possible for his December visit. Lacking enough funding to purchase as many books as she hoped to, she turned to the Wayne Township Education Foundation. A WTEF grant, along with help from the organization DonorsChoose, allowed her to buy about 70 copies of Anderson’s book “Posted.”

“I’d say that is the most popular of his books here at Lynhurst,” said Ms. Reeser. “It’s about a school that banned cell phones because of bullying, and so students use post-it notes on lockers to communicate with one another. Some are nice notes, and others are not. It’s really about the power of words; they can be a weapon or a gift.”

Listening to Anderson’s presentation helped students connect even further with his work. And he signed their copies of his book after the presentation – something that wouldn’t have been possible for some of them without help from WTEF.

“I’m not sure I would have been able to raise the entire amount on my own,” said Ms. Reeser. “I’m so grateful for the assistance I received from WTEF.”

The Wayne Township Education Foundation (WTEF) provides community leadership to enrich, engage, and stimulate teaching and learning in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. WTEF accomplishes this by supporting school programs and resources, while recognizing excellence among students and staff. To learn more about WTEF, call 317-988-7966, visit, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @WayneTwpEdFound.