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Author Challenges A.V. Martinez Students: 'Inspiration ... or Irritation?'

Jordan Sonnenblick, a New York Times best-selling author, shares a little bit of what he has learned during a visit to a Romeoville middle school on Tuesday.

Author Jordan Sonnenblick talks with seventh-graders at A.V. Martinez Middle School in Romeoville. Credit: Larry Randa/Valley View School District
Author Jordan Sonnenblick talks with seventh-graders at A.V. Martinez Middle School in Romeoville. Credit: Larry Randa/Valley View School District
Submitted by Valley View School District 365U:

If you really want to be happy, you need to take control of your life every single day.

So says author Jordan Sonnenblick who told A. Vito Martinez Middle School students Tuesday they are lucky because “every minute of every day you get to decide if you will be an inspiration or an irritation.”

The former middle school language arts teacher who didn’t publish his first book until he was 33 admitted to being “miserable” as a kid because “I used to worry that I wouldn’t be happy when I grew up.”

But, the New York Times best-selling author added, “If I could go back in time, I would say don’t worry, it’ll be OK.”

Recalling his young adult years in which he was a couch potato “bragging about how I was going to write a book but never doing anything about it,” Sonneblick gave some sage advice to students: “Think of something you’re good at and really love to do. It could be anything, except maybe playing video games. It doesn’t matter. Then do something about it. Figure out how you’re going to get there.”

The East Coast author of seven books for children and teens admitted his motivation to write was inspired by an 8th grade student whose little brother had cancer. His first book Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie was written to help her get through a tough situation.

Helping her, he said, made him happy. And he hasn’t stopped writing since.

“The people who are happiest are the people who use their skills to make someone else’s life better,” Sonnenblick said. 

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