Department of Defense Education Activity

Author Brad Meltzer speaks to DoDEA Pacific classrooms

For Immediate Release — October 4, 2022 | Pacific

Darby ES Student

Author Brad Meltzer speaks to DoDEA Pacific classrooms

PACIFIC REGION — October 4, 2022 — Elementary students across the Pacific tuned in to a live conversation with award-winning and bestselling author Brad Meltzer Tuesday, Oct. 4.

During the 45-minute virtual program, Meltzer, author of the popular children’s book series, “Ordinary People Change the World,” discussed the writing process, what inspires him, and offered advice to aspiring young authors.

“You’ve got to just start writing,” Meltzer said. “You’ve got to start telling your story. You can draw it if you want to draw it, you can write it if you want to write it, you can speak it if you want to speak it, but you have to tell your story. Every time you tell that story, it is going to get better and better and better.”

Darby Elementary School in Sasebo, Japan, and Amelia Earhart Intermediate School in Okinawa, Japan had the opportunity to serve as live-look locations and ask questions directly to Meltzer. Questions were also pulled from the Q&A box from students viewing across the Pacific.

“We absolutely LOVED this opportunity to speak live with Mr. Meltzer,” said Ms. Lanette Francis, whose third-grade class served as a live-look location at Amelia Earhart Intermediate School. “The students were so excited to ask their questions and so engaged by his amazing and personable answers! We’ve been flying on cloud nine ever since this amazing morning event… We will be using what we heard and learned today for several writing/reflection discussions in the coming weeks.”

Ms. Francis’ students said they liked talking to Meltzer.

“I enjoyed learning about how writing is just like riding a bike,” said Landon, a student in Ms. Francis’ class. “You just have to keep on riding and you have to keep pedaling so then you can stay on and you don’t fall down and just keep going.”

“I learned about him and his books,” added Abigail, another student in Ms. Francis’ class. “I liked how he told us the secrets of the new books… but I can’t tell anyone.”

More than 4,300 elementary students and staff located in Guam, South Korea, mainland Japan and Okinawa participated in the virtual program, made possible thanks to a partnership between the USO Indo-Pacific and DoDEA Pacific.

“Our partnership with the USO Indo-Pacific began in 2020 during Covid, at a time when we were unable to offer many extracurricular events and activities,” said DoDEA Pacific Chief of Staff Todd Schlitz. “After a successful first event and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from staff and students, we realized the potential. Thanks to the USO Indo-Pacific, our military-connected students have had the opportunity to virtually connect with celebrities and industry professionals to discuss topics that align with curriculum and instruction.”

Since 2020, the USO Indo-Pacific and DoDEA Pacific have collaborated to provide virtual programs designed for DoDEA Pacific students, including Bill Nye the Science Guy, actress/singer Sofia Carson, actors Ralph Macchio and Yuji Okumoto of Cobra Kai, members of the U.S. Olympic swim team, and the USO Show Troupe.

“USO Indo-Pacific is looking forward to another great year supporting military kids attending a DoDEA school,” said Scott Maskery, USO Indo-Pacific Regional Vice-President.