It is always wonderful to have the opportunity to host an author at your campus.
It is even more special when the author visit is the culminating event to a school-wide reading event, because everyone can claim some "ownership" of the story---everyone in the room has something in common, and we all are on the edge of our seats to see what having the actual author in the same room can add to the collective experience. It is a powerful thing.
We were lucky enough to host Greg Neri this week---and wow! what a day! First, I must tell you that SO many of my students let me know that they saw themselves in Ghetto Cowboy. "It was about me---this is my life," was a common refrain.
Without a doubt, even though I love Ghetto Cowboy, my favorite part of the day was our special Yummy session. This was a by-invitation-only event for my students who read Yummy and loved it so much they came back asking for "more books like this one." I'm telling you, I have bonded with these kids over this book, and they've read it and passed it on to friends. I have 8 copies in the library and they are ALWAYS checked out with a waiting list. I have had several kids tell me this is the first book they ever read all the way through and the first book they've ever liked. That, too, is a powerful thing.
A couple of my 8th graders have become "secret" readers because of this book----they give me the guy head nod when we pass in the hall, but then come back around the library when no one is around to chat about what they are now reading and check with me to see if "any more books like Yummy" are in, to talk to me about hard things going on in their lives, or just to tell me it is nearly their birthday. I am honored, truly, to have earned their trust and their respect. In large part, I owe this to Yummy, and to G. Neri.
If you have the chance to host Mr. Neri, I cannot recommend him enough. He was a pleasure to listen to, to learn from, and to hang out with for the day.
|Speaking to the students.|
|Speaking to the students|
|We just got his autograph!|