The name Douglas Wood may be familiar to some, but to a group of third graders at Reede Gray Elementary the name is one they know well.
After all, they have been reading his books.
Wood, who has authored 36 books and has sold more than 2.5 million copies of them, paid a visit to Redwood Falls Wednesday, March 21 to meet with the third graders at the elementary school to talk about what it means to be an author and to encourage them to never give up on their dreams.
Wood, who calls himself a writer, musician and naturalist, told the students he likes books, enjoys singing and loves being out in nature.
That love for reading has not always been true for Wood, he told a group of students meeting with him in the school’s media center.
In fact, as a child he hated to read.
“I was the worst reader in my class,” Wood said, adding because he was so far behind in reading he had to stay after to do even more school.
At the time, he said, that all just seemed to make it worse.
Wood said part of the reason why reading was such a challenge for him was because he has what is known as ADHD, adding he also has dyslexia.
“I hated to sit still,” said Wood, adding having to keep his legs under a desk all day was very hard. “I wanted to get up and move around. I wanted to explore things.”
Wood said his ADHD made him a very curious person, which meant he really liked being outside. One day, he added, his teacher gave him a book that appealed to his interests in the outdoors, and that is when his skills as a reader really began to grow.
While he admitted he was not the best reader in his class he was not the worst anymore, either. Wood said he wrote one of his books, “Miss Little’s Gift,” about his experience in learning to read, adding when the book was published he sent a copy to the teacher who gave him the gift of reading.
Wood added a copy of every book he has written has been sent to that teacher.
Wood recalled fondly stories of his past, including one when he was in northern Minnesota with his family.
His granddad, pointed out a turtle in the lake while the family was on an island one day having a picnic. Wood caught the turtle and kept and cared for him for a few days. That turtle was named Elmer, and Wood said he became the muse for one of his most famous books “Old Turtle.”
Wood does presentations all over the world, and the Minnesota author who lives near St. Cloud admitted as a child he never would have imagined the life he has today.
“You never know how things are going to turn out,” Wood said.
Wood encouraged the students to be curious, to get out and enjoy nature and to keep reading.
His next book “Americans” is scheduled to be out later this year.
To learn more about Douglas Wood and his books, visit douglaswood.com.