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Internationally best-selling author John Flannagan stops by Woodbury Middle School

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An Australian author made a stop at Woodbury Middle School last week. 

International best-selling author John Flannagan discussed his career with students on Oct. 19. 

Flannagan’s visit to WMS was thanks in part to the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul. 

“It is almost like a celebrity experience when we bring authors in,” said WMS literacy coach Leah Boulos, “but with a message of literacy.”

Flannagan’s WMS stop was part of a two-week U.S. tour. 

“I love hearing that I’m an author because it’s always what I wanted to be,” he said. 

Flannagan’s series, “The Ranger’s Apprentice,” is about Will, a small yet energetic boy who becomes an apprentice to the master ranger Halt. 

After training under Halt, Will becomes a ranger, who are secretive warriors who use their intelligence, courage, ability to move around unseen, and skills with bows and knives to protect the kingdom of Araluen. 

“I found characters that liked because I could relate to them,” said WMS student Benjamin Sayers, who introduced Flannagan last week. “By writing characters I can relate to, he’s helped me deal with my own insecurities.” 

Flannagan initially wrote the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series for his son, Michael, in order to encourage him to read. 

Most of Flannagan’s life was spent working as an advertising copywriter before he published his first book, “Ranger’s Apprentice: The Tournament at Gorlan.” 

“My whole life changed,” he said. 

Much of Flannagan’s talk consisted of stories of rejection and never giving up. 

“If I had given up, none of this would have happened,” he said, “and even worse, I wouldn’t know what I was missing out on.” 

Flannagan encouraged students to follow their dreams, no matter what they might be. 

“It’s the people who keep trying who are successful,” he said. “Never let people stand in the way of what you want to do.”         

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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