A Dog’s Purpose Author W. Bruce Cameron Visits Henderson Elementary School

Posted on 04/29/2019
Bruce Cameron signs his book for Henderson student


Author visits can be a meaningful experience for students. Not only do they give students the opportunity to ask questions and hear from their favorite author, but they also help them realize that most writers are just like them. This is what W. Bruce Cameron hoped the fourth and fifth graders understood during his recent visit to Henderson Elementary. Cameron, a New York Times bestselling author, is best known for his novel A Dog’s Purpose, which was made into a 2017 film that grossed over $200 million worldwide.

Bruce Cameron speaks with Henderson studentsDuring his visit, Cameron gave students an insight into what an author’s life looks like. “I think they need to see that there is a human being on the other side of the writing process and that we have personalities and feelings,” said Cameron.  He shared how his journey to becoming a successful writer was met with a lot of failure and skepticism from people telling him that he wouldn’t make it. However, Cameron never gave up and now his body of work shows he made the right choice!

In 2002, Cameron’s book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter was adapted into a television sitcom, which aired from 2002 to 2005. Since then, two of his beloved dog books, A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey, have been adapted into movies with the sequel scheduled to be released in May. “There are so many messages about failure and defeat, especially in any artistic endeavor,” said Cameron. “The students need to hear it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to just persevere, even as other people are telling you it’s not going to work.”

Along with Cameron’s inspiring advice, the award-winning author answered questions from students who were curious about his interest in dogs, his purpose for writing, and more. Fourth grader Amelia G. was particularly interested in his inspiration for certain books. “I think it’s good to know about the books and why the authors wrote them. It’s not like they randomly wrote them,” said Amelia. She went on to share how his books have encouraged her to look at dogs in a new light.

Bruce Cameron signs book for Henderson studentWhile Cameron shared the motivations behind his writing, an underlying message was present throughout his Q&A session. His visit showed students that books can connect us in several ways. They can connect us with the characters and situations we are reading about, but they can also connect us to others around us. “We can have a cultural and social connection to our friends, our peers, and even to strangers,” shared Cameron. “We all sat in the room today. Several people had read the books and there was a clear excitement for that. If you’re reading a book and someone sees you who has also read that book, that gives you an instant connection.”

Henderson library media specialist Emily Gillett shared how a student’s unique relationship with a book can truly make a difference. “It’s important for them to have that connection to what they’re reading. If they have a personal connection with a book, they are more likely to read it.”

Ultimately, reading not only provides students with a basic educational tool, but it also helps them to interact and engage with the world around them. “I love telling children how important it is to read,” said Cameron. “Hearing it from me, I think it lands a different way than hearing it from anybody whether that it is a parent or a teacher.” After the assembly, students had the opportunity to personally meet Cameron and have their books signed by the famous author. They left with his autograph, but they also left with much more – a new purpose for reading.

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