Friday, September 30, 2016

Spotlight Friday: author visits and their books 9.30.16

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

A couple of years ago I saw for myself the value of author interaction with students.  The wide eye disbelief that an author would actually talk to them!  We talk about rock star status and for the students, this cemented it.  Whether it was an author responding to a tweet, and author skyping, an author responding to a letter, or an actual author visit, students at our school have a lot of love and respect for books and the work an author does.

Students at our school were fortunate enough to interact with a couple of authors within the first month of school.

Our 1st through 3rd graders got to enjoy the company of author Andrea Beaty, courtesy of a local indie bookstore, The Bookstall in Winnetka, IL.  Andrea shared secrets about her books, talked about ideas - both big and small details - and about the process of writing.  Even though teachers talk about the writing process, it becomes so real when it's an author telling them they go through it as well.

Our students were lucky to hear Andrea read her newest book, Ada Twist, Scientist.  It's always magical hearing the author read their own words.  Ada, a classmate of Iggy and Rosie, gets to star in her own book.  I love that Ada is a scientist - Andrea has done an amazing job showing girls can be strong is STEM too!  Andrea shared details that illustrator David Roberts added in - look at book titles, block details and see if you an spot characters/items from the other two books.  Andrea's rhymes are metered perfectly and flow easily as you read them.

I know our students will be excited every time they see an Andrea Beaty book at the library or bookstore.  And maybe they'll think just a bit more how they are following in an author's footsteps as they go through the writing process.

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist, Scientist
written by Andrea Beaty
illustrated by David Roberts
published by Abrams Books for Young Readers

A 4th grade class also had the opportunity to Skype with author Josh Funk.  What started with some tweets about Talk Like a Pirate Day, led to a wonderful Skype session.  Josh answered many questions, and what I love about the question and answer session is these are the questions students really want to know about authors.  You can see them thinking about the answers on their little faces.  While I know these Skype visits are fantastic, the real teaching magic happens after the call is over.  Their teacher led them through a discussion of what they had learned from Josh, or something that really made them think.  One of the things Josh talked about is how stories are everywhere.  When kids think about writing, they think about pen and paper, maybe a computer or tablet.  The finished product is usually a book or something their teacher wanted them to write.  The best food for thought response Josh gave was that video games are also stories.  You could visibly see the light bulbs go on in their minds!

The students enjoyed a wonderful shared reading of Pirasaurs by their talented teacher, while Josh shared the book on screen.  Now, kids are so excited to get their hands on Josh's next book Dear Dragon.  Personally, it's my favorite of his three published books.  I fell in love with it years ago when I saw the mock-up and the finished product is even more beautiful.  There are so many ways of using it as a mentor text - writing, perspective, being positive about differences.  And just like Andrea Beaty's books, the metered rhyme is perfect.

Dear Dragon by Josh Funk
Dear Dragon
written by Josh Funk
illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo
published by Viking Books

I hope you've been able to set up Skype visits, author visits or even tweet or write to an author.  The benefits are fantastic.

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