Fact: I do not like email.
Fact: I never check my school account on days that I don’t work, including summer vacation.
Fact: The saying – never say never – exists for a reason. Because for the first time in, well, EVER, I checked my school email over summer vacation. And back in the beginning of August, I found a sparkling gem of an email from my local bookstore, University Bookstore, asking me if I wanted to host author Mac Barnett at my school…and if so, to email back ASAP. First two to reply earn a visit.
Were they kidding? YES! Yes I wanted to host Mac Barnett – very, very much. If you don’t recall, he was part of my fangirl experience at ALA 2014 in Vegas. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE his stories. And I knew my students and teachers would love-love-love him just as much as I did.
I promptly emailed back – again, first email sent during summer – and luckily secured a visit. Yippee! There was one hurdle – he’d be visiting on our 10th day of school – so any lessons/units I would usually pre-teach were out the window. But that was minor. MAC BARNETT. IN OUR LIBRARY. We’d make it work!
And work it did. Today Mac visited my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. He entertained them with his humor, charmed them with his stories, and challenged them to think with his bookcentric, interactive presentation.
We were honored to hear him share four of his books. Count the Monkeys was an interactive, page-turning delight. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (out Oct 2014) gave the students a chance to think creatively about the book’s unexpected ending. Mac’s newest, Telephone, began with a rousing rendition of Happy Book Birthday to You, as it just published six days ago. And his upcoming Leo and the Ghost (no pub date given, and I forget the exact title…eek!) was shared after a student asked about the process of illustration within his books, as the dummy was illustrated on post-it notes. I loved the rough illustrations on sticky notes almost as much as I loved his story – which I predict to be a very, very big hit.
Everyone walked out from the morning spent with Mac smiling, happy, and ready to read even more of his books. And since he shared that he has at least 10 in the process of being published, I predict many students will be eagerly buying – and reading – them.
So thanks again, Mac, for an amazing morning. Your enthusiasm for writing and genuine passion for students was apparent. And thanks, U Bookstore, for that summer email. I don’t know what possessed me to check it that hot August day, but I sure am glad that I did.