Special Edition Literacy Café: Barbara Brauner & James Mattson

Today Roosevelt School hosted their first author visit.  When the librarian at the school approached me about inviting in an author, I immediately thought of authors, Barbara Brauner and James Mattson who have written two books in the Oh My Godmother series - The Glitter Trap and The Magic Mistake.

Barbara and James had never done a solo school event before, but I promised that I would make sure that both they and the students had a great time.

When Barbara and Jim arrived at the school, they were greeted by a sign outside and inside....

Previously, I had arranged for the school to receive 25 copies of The Glitter Trap.  The librarian, Ms. Cristina, held a book club and the students who attended the book club were invited to attend the author visit.

It was important that students have a chance to meet and interact with Barbara and Jim.  So, I met with them over lunch to discuss ideas.  They had made "glitter traps" before and thought that would be a fun activity to do with the students.  Barbara is a masterful shopper and must have a secret stash of glitter glue because she came prepared.

James led groups of students as they designed their own glitter traps on paper.

In another area of the room, Barbara had students working on a creative writing activity where they wrote about finding a magical moped and where it would take them. We provided each student with a blank journal which they used for the writing activity and also to redesign the cover of the book.

Another talent of Barbara that results from her resourceful shopping is amazing swag bags with magic wands, and frogs and bookmarks.  Since we always have a snack or food at a Literacy Café, I provided popcorn.  If you've read the first book, you'll understand the reference.

After the group work, students gathered around with their snacks and asked Jim and Barbara questions.  I loved when they asked if it was hard to deal with the paparazzi.  Yes, authors really are rock stars to kids.

After the question and answer time, we put Jim and Barbara to work signing all of the books.

Students also asked for their journals to be signed by the awesome writing partners. And of course, more questions were asked while in line.

All of the students had an amazing time visiting with our special guests.  And if anyone was wondering, yes, there were actually quite a few boys who participated in the book club and author visit.  They were just as excited about the book and the characters in the story and in meeting Jim and Barbara.

Thank you Barbara and Jim for such a fantastic visit and all of your wonderful goodies.  You are magical.

For more information about Barbara Brauner and James Mattson and their books check out their website: http://braunermattson.com/

School Author Visit - Molly Idle

One of my favorite things to do is invite authors to schools.  Watching the interactions between students and an author brings a smile to my face every time.  This time, I had the great opportunity of spending the day with author/illustrator, Molly Idle.

My first stop with Molly was at Don Benito Elementary School in Pasadena.  Here is Molly with her welcome sign.

Principal Julie Reynoso introduces Molly to her Kindergarten and First Grade Students. Everyone was really excited.

Molly kicked off the visit with a slideshow. We learned about how Molly, as a child, had aspirations of becoming a writer and illustrator.

Molly has such a wonderful warm personality and connected beautifully with students.

She gave students a drawing demonstration. Here is a flamingo and a bee.

Students also had a chance to ask Molly questions about writing, and how books are created.  There was a lot of interest in the actual way books are produced.

Molly also got a chance to sign a stack of books.  Thank you Joey and Kris from Once Upon a Time for coming out and helping with book sales.

After the morning visit, Molly and I stopped by The Little Flower Café to pick up lunch. It is one of my favorite places and I think Molly loved it too.  After a quick lunch, Molly had a chance to meet up with a small group of high school students who are interested in careers as illustrators or cartoonists. 

After chatting with the high school students, Molly did another school visit at Norma Coombs Alternative School.  Principal Jennifer Smith introduces Molly to her students.

Molly again shared about her childhood.  I loved the pictures of a very young Molly already showing signs of being a future illustrator.

If you haven't read Tea Rex or Flora and the Flamingo, look for copies at your local independent bookstore.

Thank you Molly for coming out and spending the day with me and several of the schools I work with.

School Visit - Author, Tim Federle

About a month ago, I received an email from Once Upon a Time Bookstore asking if we wanted to host Tim Federle at one of our schools. My immediate reaction - well of course!  Then I looked at the date and wanted to cry. It was right at the beginning of testing.  So, after a few more emails and some logistical tweaking, we worked it out that Tim would come after school and meet with the Middle School Drama Class at Marshall Fundamental. Phew! 

By the way, for those of you who don't know, Tim is the debut author of BETTER NATE THAN EVER.  I love seeing all those copies of his book just waiting to be picked up. 

I knew that the fantastic teacher/librarian - Mr. Butler - had read the book and would do his best to prep the students.  Finally, the day arrived and Tim would be visiting.

We met at the library at the school.  Since it was a small group, we just pulled up chairs and hung out.

I had never done an author visit with Middle School students before.  They're a bit different from those elementary kids I normally work with.  But Tim was great with them.

He read some from his book BETTER NATE THAN EVER

He shared all kinds of stuff from his dance and theater experience to writing advice.  I think the students really enjoyed it.  A few of the students bought books and had them signed.

And though I don't have any pictures of this, the after event chat with Tim and a few folks was definitely the highlight on my afternoon.

Thanks Tim for coming out and hanging with the students at Marshall Fundamental.  And thank you to Once Upon a Time and Simon & Schuster for making the visit possible.       

Check out Tim Federle talking about BETTER NATE THAN EVER.

Enter to win a signed hard cover of BETTER NATE THAN EVER a Rafflecopter giveaway

San Rafael School Celebrates Books 2011

Everyone seems to do an end of the year video capturing the images of the year.  I decided to do a video thank you to all of the authors and illustrators who gave time and energy to share something of themselves and their books with the students at my school. 

As a result of these amazing authors & illustrators who have visited the school, our students are showing more and more interested in reading and books.  Thank you for being "rock stars" to children. 

Special Thank You's to:

Suzanne Santillan (Grandma's Pear Tree)
James Burks (Gabby & Gator)
Danika Dinsmore (Brigitta of the White Forest)
Bill Thomson (Chalk)
Candace Ryan (Animal House)
Kate Messner (Marty McGuire)
Jenni Holm (Turtle in Paradise)*
Riley Carney (The Fire Stone)*
Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson (The Familiars)
Laurel Snyder (Bigger Than A Breadbox)
Peter Brown (You Will Be My Friend)
Jenny Slate & Dean Fleisher-Camp (Marcel the Shell)**
Scott Campbell (Zombie in Love)
Oliver Jeffers (Stuck)

And to our Skype friends:
@mrschureads & his students
@shannonmmiller & her students*
@akgal68 & her students*

*Unfortunately, I don't seem to have photos of these visits. I promise to do better with picture taking in 2012.   I still greatly appreciate their time & effort. 
**I couldn't seem to find a dedicated website for the book. 


Picture Book Month & Marcel the Shell

Today at my school we celebrated the start of Picture Book Month.  You might be asking "What is Picture Book Month?" Well I grabbed this explanation off of Katie Davis' website:

"It is an international initiative to designate November as Picture Book Month, encouraging grown-ups to read picture books with children. Founder Dianne de Las Casas, and Co-Founders, Wendy Martin, Elizabeth O. Dulemba (author/illustrator), Tara Lazar (author) and I (Katie Davis) are putting it all together."

Here is the website for more information:  http://picturebookmonth.com/ 

You might be wondering how we celebrated Picture Book Month.  For Day 1, one of the first grade classes at my school skyped with Mr. Schu's (@mrschureads on twitter) second grade class from  Brook Forest Elementary in Illinois.  Mr. Schu's class did a great job telling us about Picture Book Month and then I had a chance to share about 3 special picture books with them.

However, it didn't end there.  In second and third grade today, we welcomed debut picture book creators Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp to San Rafael.  Their book Marcel The Shell With Shoes On released today.  It was so much fun to get to celebrate with these two wonderful writers and illustrators and help them kick off their book tour.

Above Dean and Jenny tell a little bit about their new book.

Answering questions from students.

Dean operates the technology while Jenny reads the story in Marcel's voice.

If you haven't seen the original video that sparked this book, take a minute to check it out below.

We are looking forward to more Skype visits with Twitter Friends from all over the country.  I am so excited to be able to connect my students with students from other places and together be able to celebrate picture books.  I am also thrilled that we will be hosting visits from the following Picture Book authors and illustrators - Scott Campbell (Zombie in Love), Oliver Jeffer (Stuck), and Bill Thomson (Chalk).