East Baton Rouge Parish students were in for a special literary treat during Teen Read Week, Oct. 9-15.
Author, poet, screenwriter and educator Terry A. O'Neal, a resident of California, toured several schools throughout the parish, spending Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 with Zachary High students thanks to a coordinated effort between the school's library and drama and English departments.
Students attended presentations in the library and inside the black box theater at the Visual and Performing Arts Center.
O'Neal is best known for the young adult fiction novel "Sweet Lavender," a southern story adapted into a full length screenplay in 2007.
She also is the author of several volumes of poetry and two children's books as well as the editor of the publication "Make Some Noise," a poetry anthology for ages 12 through 18.
The Zachary students were treated to poetry readings by O'Neal, engaged in workshops and got the opportunity to share their work as well as submit some of their original poems to be published in Make Some Noise IV.
The upcoming poetry collection is designed to empower youth to express themselves creatively while restoring their hope and community through poems and is expected to be released in late January. O'Neal said she's optimistic the collection will be the best one yet.
"Use your experiences to write your poetry," O'Neal told the group.
Some of the students' poems were about their experiences during the recent flood.
Teen Read Week is a national literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association in 1998 and is held annually in October to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.