In a world inundated with video games and ever-expanding technology, one Bonney Lake resident is working hard to keep storytelling a part of childhood.
Eric Ode – pronounced oh-dee – is more than a children’s book author. He’s a singer, song-writer, guitarist and poet. Like a troubadour of days long gone, Ode travels to schools and libraries to read aloud and sing songs with the children. In an effort to teach them about the writing process, his performances place great emphasis on audience participation.
“He had the students engaged from start to finish and wove the writing process into his performance, ” Amy Orm said, vice principal of All Saints Catholic School. “They have already asked if he can come back again,”
Orm said the fight against illiteracy isn’t simply about the inability to read. It’s about maintaining an outlet for expression and communication. By eliciting their attention through music and poetry, Ode encourages the perpetuation of readers and writers among today’s adolescents.
Encouraging literacy and providing support for early childhood educators is one of the driving forces behind his work. Equipped with a master’s degree and 12 years of experience in elementary education, Ode also offers keynote presentations and workshops for educators. On his website, ericode.com, he provides activities which help facilitate fun learning opportunities in the classroom and at home. To accommodate busy schedules and keep up with technology, Ode offers virtual author visits via Skype.
Ode’s wife, Kim Ode, owns and operates Jubilee Naturals, a health food store which also offers classes and educational events. With locations in both Sumner and Enumclaw, Jubilee Naturals is a community hub for nutrition and holistic wellness information. Some say that the Odes are a power couple, working together to keep the community’s children healthy, happy and literate.
“We cherish the opportunity to be contributing members in the community,” Ode said. “It’s important to us that we’re connected to the towns, businesses and people in the area.”