Middle school and high school students are often assigned novels to read, but it's not every day that they get to meet the author of those books.
Sioux Falls Whittier Middle School Students are familiar with the work of author Neil Shusterman.
"I've read 'Unwind,' the first book in the series and I really liked it," 8th grade student Eden Senay said.
But Shusterman says he wants teenagers to get to know him. He says visiting schools is an important part of his profession.
"When kids read a book, there's such a sense of disconnection from the author. I want to be out there and showing them that the author is a real person that is writing these books for them so they have this connection with the literature," Shusterman said.
Whittier students won't be the only ones to hear the award-winning author's message. He'll visit five middle schools in Sioux Falls and three high schools.
Shusterman bases his hour-long presentation on the questions asked by students. He tells them how his success is far from an overnight story. He received hundreds of rejections on his first two book ideas before being published.
"I had to write the first one to be good enough to write the second to be good enough to write the third and that was the one that was published. Perseverance is a very important part of success in any field," Shusterman said.
"It's very good that he went back and kept trying and kept trying and very smart of him to try the nicest editor. I liked how he kept trying and didn't give up after his first book," Senay said.
Shusterman says he hopes students take his message and apply it to other areas in their lives. Students say that's inspiring.
"I believe you have to fail before you can succeed. Just like any subject in school you have to not understand it at first before you can understand it," 8th grade student Raylynn Rohrer said.
This author says much of his inspiration comes from the kids.
"You know, a book doesn't exist on the page, a book exists in the mind of the read. By ready you're really exercising your imagination in ways that video games, movies and TV don't do," Shusterman said.
Shusterman will be in Sioux Falls through Wednesday when he has a book signing event at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble.