Lee Edward Fodi, right, helps Grade 6 students at Osoyoos Elementary Emily, left, and Erika create dragon eggs to use a writing prompt. Fodi had multiple sessions with students over three days to encourage writing and creativity starting on April 15. (Dale Boyd / Osoyoos Times)
By Dale Boyd
Years ago, Lee Edward Födi was an Osoyoos kid growing up on a farm, writing his own books.
Now the author of the successful children’s fantasy series The Secret of Zoone and Kendra Kandlestar travels the world passing on his creative knowledge and encouraging the next generation of writers.
“I spent three of my most formative years in what is now the public library. Which is kind of strange because now my books are in that room, my published books, and that’s where I wrote a lot of books as a kid,” Födi said. “Seems a little bit full circle, and I think it’s such a great opportunity for any school to have a writer come in.”
Födi spent three days last week with students at Osoyoos Elementary School as part of the artist in residency program with funds raised by the local parental advisory committee.
“For me, writing isn’t just working with words, writing is drawing, it’s building props, it’s exploring all avenues of creativity. That’s how I personally write, so I’m taking the kids through that process,” Födi said.
He guided students through crafts, creating dragon eggs and potions, to act as writing prompts and unleash their creativity.
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On April 16 students explored what would hatch out of the egg they were creating. While they were called “dragon eggs,” students were encouraged to write about whatever they liked coming out of their egg.
Originally from Osoyoos, Födi’s fantastical storytelling skills were encouraged when he attended school here. Now he brings that creative process to students around Canada and the world, serving as an artist in residence in Korea, Thailand and the U.S.
“I bring a very, I guess you would call it, multi-disciplinary approach to creative writing,” Födi said.
He enjoyed getting to spend so much time with so many students in his home town.
“We are doing something very intensive in the sense that every single student in the population is getting a project. That’s very ambitious, but so far it’s been going very smoothly,” Födi said. “We are trying to balance a very creative project and making sure everyone gets onea.”
He hopes students walked away with a creative experience different from what they may normally be exposed to, and introducing students to the idea of writing as a career.
“My first book was 2002. I have a lot of experience in publishing and writing I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’m also giving them the experience of someone who is doing this as a job,” Födi said.
Födi recalled growing up on a farm, and knowing that was clearly not going to be his destiny.
“But it was supposed to be. So I think of kids that might be like me who are looking for other examples of things they can do,” Födi said.