Excited second-graders created a make-believe story with an award-winning children’s author during a special event at the University of Central Florida.  

The activity was part of the 2011 Young Authors’ Conference held Friday at the Teaching Academy, part of the College of Education.

Nearly 160 young authors from Catalina and Ivey Lane elementary schools came to UCF for the event, which was a special function of this weekend’s UCF Book Festival.

More than 60 renowned local and national authors will speak at the festival, which will be held at the UCF Arena from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16. Admission and parking will be free.

Special guest Carmen Agra Deedy spoke to students on Friday about storytelling, and she shared some of the things that inspired her stories. Deedy is the internationally renowned author of children’s works such as “The Library Dragon” and “Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale.”

At the conference, she explained to young writers how to brainstorm story ideas and spoke to them about the essential ingredients of a good story.

The second-graders also participated in small-group sharing sessions. The students sat in circles and took turns discussing their writing processes. They also presented stories they created in school.

“I love encouraging students to think outside of the box,” Deedy said.  “It’s important for them to be able to communicate their thoughts and experiences eloquently because it affects how they see the world and how the world sees them.”