Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Class Trip

This past Friday I traveled to Edward Heston Elementary School in West Philly to participate in National Library Week. WePAC (West Philadelphia Alliance for Children) is a fine organization dedicated to restoring libraries in public schools that have gone without for too long due to budget cuts and other nasty things. Volunteers restock the library shelves and donate their time to ensure that children will have access to a library. WePAC asked a bunch of children's authors and illustrators to share their books with the children in their program during National Library Week and I was happy to oblige.

I read to a class of second graders, and I could barely get a word in edgewise. These kids were so thrilled to be meeting an author that their hands were rarely down. I could have spent the entire session answering their questions. I showed them a selection of my books and then read one of my nonfiction books. I selected Emerald Boas: Rain Forest Undercover because I was pretty sure most kids are interested in snakes and because, frankly, of the wonderful photographs of the snake squeezing its prey and swallowing it whole. As I suspected, the class ate it up. Most of their follow-up questions I handled with ease except for one little boy's. He urgently wanted to know exactly how baby snakes were made. "That's a whole other book, my friend," I told him.

Afterwards the kids were so enamored with the books I brought, I donated them to the library. They solemnly came up and told me which ones they planned to check out. Because the library has so few books, they can check out only one per week. For many of these kids this is their only access to books. If anyone would like to donate to the WePAC program, I urge you to do so. Here's a link to their website with information about how to donate.

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