Jesse Alderman, a 12-year-old Faribault Middle School
sixth-grader, looks through an original manuscript from author
J. Michael Blumer. Blumer visited Jesse and other students
during the school’s book club. (Corey Butler Jr./Daily News)
FARIBAULT — An author of a book can sometimes seem as
fictitious as the things they write about.
But for 20 Faribault Middle School students, reality struck on
Minnesota author J. Michael Blumer visited with the sixth-grade reading
club to cap off a year of reading, discussing and expanding the
“It’s pretty cool,” said 12-year-old Jesse Alderman.
Blumer is the author of the “Secret Books of Gabendoor,” a three-book
series that continues to expand.
He talked about his experiences with writing throughout his life and how
he came to writing the series. He told the students he has always
“There’s no pressure to my writing — just have fun,” he told the
students, describing the ability to craft your own world. “You can go
deeper. As a writer, you can do that.”
Blumer said he has always been an imaginative person and described
himself as an “organic” writer, telling the kids he can develop ideas
and work with them within his fantasy world of Gabendoor.
He said while that may not be the genre of choice of budding wordsmiths,
they should go with their instinct.
“Write the story that’s inside you,” he told the students. “Write what
Jesse, who has read a book from Blumer’s series, said he’s not so much a
writer, but rather a reading enthusiast.
“I like reading,” he said following Blumer’s presentation. “It’s like TV
in your head.”
But for those interested in writing, Blumer said it’s a difficult path
to publication. He told the students not to let that deter them.
“If you don’t get in line, you can’t get published,” he said.
FMS sixth-grade language arts teacher Vicky Hubert said ending book club
with a visit from an author was a great sendoff for the sixth-graders.
In its second year, she said the monthly after-school group will
continue next year to allow students to harness their interest in
reading. She said they meet every two weeks or so and read parts of
three books, discussing them, and then finishing them before the next
meeting, where they discuss the second halves of the books.
“It’s just like an adult book club,” she said.
— Staff writer Corey Butler Jr. may be reached at 333-3135.