What: Watermark Books & Café invites you to attend a virtual event with local author Grant Overstake! Grant and his co-contributor, Dr. Melissa White will joining us for a virtual discussion of their book Maggie Vaults Over the Moon—Republished as a classroom reader on June 1, 2021, with an inspiring new foreword by reigning Olympic Pole Vault Champion Katerina Stefanidi and discussion questions for middle schoolers
When: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Where: This is a virtual event and will be hosted online using Zoom Pro Webinar & Facebook Live.
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About the Book
When tragedy strikes the Steele Family Farm at harvest time, tearful Maggie finds herself grinding the gears of the giant grain truck, trying her best to replace her big brother, Alex, who died in a fiery car crash. If Maggie is going to escape her worst nightmare (being stuck on the farm forever), she'll need to ignore small-town critics, brave painful setbacks, and defy the heavy pull of gravity itself. As the pole-vault crossbar is raised dangerously higher, her future is quite literally up in the air. Taking cues from the voice within, Maggie bravely launches herself skyward. When the bar is raised to a record-setting height at the state championship meet, can she find the courage it takes to soar into a brighter future of her own making?
About the Author
Author, athlete, and teaching artist Grant Overstake writes compelling novels on important themes for young people. His premier novel, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon (2012), was hailed as a "Fine YA novel about perseverance in sports and in life" by KIRKUS REVIEWS. Grant's second novel, The Real Education of TJ Crowley (2018), a story about thorny race relations during the Civil Rights Era, was a National Book of the Month selection by Bookclubz and named "Book of the Year" by the Kansas Authors' Club. Grant discovered his passion for writing as a youngster reading sports novels by Matt Christopher hidden in his math book (a bad idea!), and later by enjoying the feature stories in Sports Illustrated. After being rejected for a spot on his junior high paper due to poor spelling habits, Grant learned to use a dictionary (before spellchecking). With a Webster's always by his side, Grant went on to write and edit his high school newspaper, winning several awards. He landed his first job as a writer when he was just 18 years old, working part-time as a sports reporter for The Wichita Eagle. Grant was awarded a journalism scholarship to attend the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas, where he won the William Randolph Hearst Award, considered the Pulitzer Prize for college journalists. An All-American (USATF) in the decathlon event, Grant also competed on the KU track team under the legendary coach, Bob Timmons. At age 24, Grant became a Staff Writer for The Miami Herald, a paper that helped shaped the careers of many bestselling authors. He later returned to Kansas to edit weekly papers, winning awards from the Kansas Press Association, and two Golden Wheat Awards from the Kansas Farm Bureau. His reporting of real-life events in rural Kansas helped him create the fictional community of Grain Valley, Kan. As an author and teaching artist, Grant has presented creative writing workshops and school assemblies on resiliency and grit to thousands of area students. In his spare time, he enjoys daily exercise and doing track and field events with his wife, Claire, who also ran for the University of Kansas. Today, they are still USATF All-American performers in the sport of master's track and field. Grant and Claire were recognized with the "Couples Spirit Award" for the decathlons they performed side-by-side during the 2020 Virtual Worldwide Masters Athletic Challenge Championships, held remotely due to the global pandemic. After completing twenty events in two days, they found themselves ranked among the world's leaders in the 60-64 age group! Today, Grant and Claire, who loves teaching 6th grade science, live in a modest lakeside apartment in Wichita, Kan. Grant writes his stories in longhand from his desk at a window overlooking a sanctuary for migrating birds in the heart of the city, a view that he shares with his cool cat, Sunny D. His independent publishing firm, Grain Valley Publishing Company, produces award-winning novels with the help of fine editors and designers from around the nation. Learn more at www.grantoverstake.com -
The discussion questions for Maggie Vaults Over the Moon were created by Dr. Melissa I. White. She is a Language Arts (ELA) Teacher and Mental Performance Consultant with a Doctorate in Sport Psychology who uses Maggie Vaults Over the Moon to inspire her own athletes at Hempfield Area High School in Western Pennsylvania. Dr. White earned a master's degree in Exercise Science: Sport Psychology from California University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Western States. While earning her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Bethany College (West Virginia) she competed in the pole vault and javelin events. Like the hero Maggie Steele, Melissa was the only girl pole-vaulter at her high school, where she set a school record that lasted for over a decade. Her counseling practice, Performance Edge Consulting, helps athletes across the nation gain the mental edge to perform their best. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, watching sporting events, listening to music, and most of all, training her Australian Shepherd, Wendy Lou, who also works with her clients as a sport therapy dog. To learn more about Dr. White's sport counseling service and download a free goal-setting worksheet, visit performanceedgeconsulting.org.