Kelly Yang speaks to students at Piney Grove Elementary

LUMBERTON — Piney Grove Elementary students in grades 4-6 heard from a New York Times bestselling author during a special visit on Wednesday.

Kelly Yang, author of “Key Player,” traveled to Piney Grove Elementary School Wednesday and shared her life story illustrating the power of words.

Yang spoke to students about her life which included working at her family’s motel and how she tells her story in literary works.

The session was interactive and included questions to children about how they might solve problems she encountered from customers of the business. She also spoke of financial challenges and language barriers as she learned to speak English.

“It wasn’t all problems and issues growing up. It was also a lot of fun,” she told students.

She also spoke of the success of her works like “Front Desk” and gave students writing advice.

“So that just goes to show what happens when you dream big … and you believe in your dreams, anything can happen,” she told students.

She encouraged students to work as a team, keep a good attitude, have good sportsmanship, and to keep working to achieve their dreams.

Close to 200 copies of Yang’s “Key Player” novel were distributed to children Wednesday.

“We were excited to have her on campus to expose our children to an author,” said Principal Kendra Deese.

Deese said doing so can inspire students to follow their dreams and share their stories as writers one day.

For more information about Yang and her books, visit