Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont

Doug Wilhelm

Mr. Doug Wilhelm spent an hour with middle school students describing the process he used to write The Revealers, a book that most of the students had read as part of their literature course.

Mr. Wilhelm who is from Weybridge, VT, has written a number of “realistic” fiction novels for young readers. His newest book, True Shoes, a sequel to The Revealers, has just been published. The subjects of both books are young people who are different from the majority of kids and considered to be misfits. As a result, they are left out of groups, the subjects of taunts, teasing, and even physical harm.

Wilhelm told the students that he felt qualified to write books about bullies and bullying because when he was growing up, he had been on the receiving end of mean treatment. He has worked hard at trying to figure out how to connect with junior high youngsters and looks for answers to questions like, “What is on your mind when you go to bed at night? What is it like for you day-to- day? Do you have dreams?”  He carries a notebook around with him to jot down insights he gets from conversations with children. His answer to how long it took to write The Revealers was that he came up with the idea when his son was 2 years old and the book was published when the boy was a junior in high school. It went through eleven revisions!

Wilhelm ended his talk by reminding his young listeners that a lot of bullying takes place through text messaging, Face book, and even through websites created entirely for the purpose of bullying someone. He quoted Mark Twain: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” and Wilhelm commented that this is truer than ever during this technological age. (March 13, 2013)