I was recently reminded of how many opportunities for our students are probably hiding in our communities. A parent reached out to our Kindergarten teachers and asked if they would be interested in an author visit with Donna Jo Napoli. The teachers asked me about it, and I immediately jumped on board because author visits don’t just pop up everyday, epsecially with outstanding authors such as this one. Donna Jo Napoli just happened to be in Athens to speak at UGA, and a parent at our school used to live down the street from her. This parent said that she was willing to come in and speak to a class or the whole grade level.
I occasionally ask parents to share their talents and connections with us in the media center so that we can connect them to opportunities, but this made me think that maybe I should ask more often or that I should highlight ways people are supporting our students with exciting opportunities.
Donna Jo Napoli read her book Rocky the Cat who Barks. She shared the process that it takes to get a book printed in physical form. Students were also able to ask questions. Many shared stories of their own pets or how they also wrote a book. Along the way, we also learned about how much research and reading go into books such as Mama Miti. Donna Jo spoke with passion about how she learned how much an ordinary person can make big changes in the world. She encouraged the students to think about what they could do to change the world. She also shared her thoughts about revision. Her thought is that instead of writing one story over and over, you should write many stories. Each time you write, share that story with a friend and have them tell you what they like and what they don’t like. Learn from that, and use what you learned to write something new. After you get several stories, pick one that speaks to you and spend more time making it better.
We also learned that she is doing a collaboration with author David Wiesner on a graphic novel. We can’t wait to see how that develops!
What an amazing day for our Kindergartens. Thank you parents and community members who reach out to schools and libraries to provide opportunities, and thank you Donna Jo Napoli for your amazing gift of story to our students today!