Thanks to Avid Bookshop and MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group, we had the great fortune of celebrating the book birthday of Gertie’s Leap to Greatness with the author. Our 3rd-5th grade all got to come to Kate’s presentation. We did lots of work leading up to the visit to write about great people in our lives as well as read the beginning of the book.
Kate traveled to our school with her wonderful publicist, Mary Van Akin. When Kate arrived, she took time to look at all of the student writing in the windows. Mary and Kate both took lots of pictures of the students’ “great people”. I also had birthday balloons, Twinkies, and Gertie balloons to celebrate the book’s birthday.
We were sure to take a picture with those to remember the day.
Prior to the students’ arrival, Kate got busy signing all of the books. Thanks to our PTA, ever classroom received copies of the books to put in class libraries. Students are always eager to read the book after an author visit, so many teachers will read the book aloud while some will give the book to eager students to read and pass around to other students. The library will also have 6 copies of the book for checkout and I’m sure that they will stay checked out for a long time.
We kicked off the author visit by singing “Happy Birthday” to Gertie. It was a rambunctious version of the song, but I’m sure Gertie would have loved it. Then, Kate jumped into her presentation. It’s always a treat to hear from an author because you get a window into their life to see where ideas come from.
Kate also gave the students a lot of tips on what it means to be a writer and shared the huge stack of rewrites and revisions of Gertie. She also showed students what it looked like when various editors sent feedback to her to make changes. Students were very surprised to see that she worked on the book for over 3 years before it came to be in our hands.
I loved that Kate read from Gertie and chose a part near the end of the book that students hadn’t read yet. She read the part where Gertie goes to the office to take a note but the secretary forgets to give Gertie a chocolate for delivering the note. It puts Gertie in a tricky situation where she has to make a decision about the tempting chocolate in front of her. It was once of those scenes that leaves readers wondering, so I’m sure many students will be eager to read the book to see what happens in that scene.
At the end of her presentation students had a chance to ask questions and then participate in an activity on specificity.
Kate asked students to look at some parts of a sentence and try to come up with more specific details to make the sentence more descriptive and interesting.
Kate Beasley is now off on a big tour for Gertie’s Leap to Greatness. We are so honored that we got to be one of her first two stops. I can’t wait to see how readers at our school and across the country react to this wonderful book.
Thank you Avid Bookshop, MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group, and Kate Beasley for a very special day in our library.