We have a magical bookshop in Athens called Avid Bookshoop, and in that bookshop works a talented author named Caleb Zane Huett. Caleb’s new book, Top Elf, which is published by Scholastic, is the hilarious journey of a group of elves as they compete against one another to be the next Santa Claus.
It’s filled with a cast of characters that bring something for every reader, and numerous jokes fill the pages to keep you laughing along the way.
I was so excited when Caleb offered to visit our school this December. Thanks to him and Avid Bookshop, our 3rd and 4th grade got to come to separate sessions to hear him speak. He started each session with a reading of the first chapter. If you ever get a chance to hear him read, do it! He brings every page to life with voices and movement and keeps the audience totally focused on every word.
After reading, Caleb facilitated the students in a collaborative story. He wanted to model this story after some of his own thought process as he writes. Kids were raising hands and shouting out ideas all along the way, and Caleb masterfully wove their ideas together into a story that he told along the way.
Teachers were also excited because they knew that his mini writing workshop directly tied back to what they were doing in their classrooms and now students can go back to class and create their own stories using a similar process.
At the close, we heard a bit about how Top Elf followed this same type of process and students got to ask Caleb questions. I always love to hear students ask authors about how long it takes to write, how many times a book was rewritten, and what inspires them. These become common questions but they make the author a real person to our readers. It creates a connection between the author and the students because the process they go through is very similar.
I want to thank Caleb Zane Huett for taking time to visit our school. I also want to thank Avid Bookshop for this opportunity and the presales of books. Finally, I thank our wonderful PTA who makes sure that every classroom gets copies of the book to add to their classroom libraries.
I know we will now have many readers of Top Elf at Barrow, and I love that our readers can walk down the street and visit with Caleb if they want to share what they’ve discovered.