Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Projects: Polar Bears, Penguins and More

Two weeks ago I did an author visit at Ecole Bilingue, a bilingual French/English school in Berkeley, California.  (I do not speak French, so my program was during the English part of the day!)  I spoke to the first and second graders and was impressed by their enthusiasm and the preparation they had done for my visit.  As I approached the library, a huge bulletin board display was dedicated to my book A Platypus’ World, which the students had translated into French and the librarian had reproduced.  After my first program, the students presented me with my own copy of the book–my first to be translated into French! (I learned the French word for platypus: ornithorynque.)

The students had also read A Polar Bear's World, A Panda's World and A Penguin's World. Inside the library was a wonderful display of the children’s art projects–roly-poly clay polar bears; cardboard tube penguins, 3-D penguin pictures; salt paintings of polar bears, paper plate pandas, and more.  I really appreciate all the hard work done by the teachers and librarians to help the children be familiar with my books.  By involving the students BEFORE my visit, they not only learned about the animals in my books but were primed for my program and got that much more out of it.  The value of author day is not just in the one day I visit, but in the learning that goes on before and after.  I know the students will be checking my books out of the library for a long time to come and remembering the day that they met me when I came to their school.  I will certainly be remembering them and all their creative art projects!

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