Our party was a giant success, and like most wonderful moments in my life, I didn’t take enough pictures.
The party started with the class eating and drinking, while watching book trailers for some of the books that we were celebrating. Half way through the Babymouse video the phone rang. Answering the phone is a student job, so a boy got up and answered the phone. The class didn’t think anything of it. “Mr. Sharp’s class student speaking,” he said into the phone. Instantly his face turned as white as a ghost.
“Mr. Sharp, look at him. What is wrong?” another student said. The boy on the phone stared at the class as he listened to the person talking on the other end. His arms started to shake. He was trying to talk, but nothing was coming out.
“Who is it?” I asked.
He tried to respond, but nothing came out. He got whiter, and his arm started to really shake. He mouthed, “It’s Jenni Holm.”
“Who?” I replied with a smile.
Still unable to speak he whispered, “The author of Babymouse, Jenni Holm is on the phone.” The class erupted! They were beside themselves. We put Jenni on speaker phone and had a lovely minute or so conversation ending with the class singing “Happy Book Birthday” to both Babymouse and Squish. Thank you, Jenni Holm for giving that boy and my class a moment that we will never forget.
From the phone call with Jenni we finished our cake and lemonade, and quickly got ready for our Skype visit with Laurel Snyder. Let me just say, if you get a chance to Skype with Laurel you must do it. She said more intelligent things about literacy in 20 minutes then I say in a year. A very smart head on those shoulders.
When Laurel talked about how reading is different from all other forms of entertainment, the class really seemed like they understood what she was saying. I loved when she talked about how with books, every reader can go somewhere else, but in video games, there are only so many places you can go.
During the Skype she kept having to talk with her kids. My class loved that. Her son even had on a Batman shirt. Totally awesome! Seeing Laurel as a mom I think really helped my students understand that authors are “real people”. That was powerful.
The party ended with middle school former students standing at the door at the end of the day with jealous looks on their faces, missing when they were the kids connecting with authors:)
Thank you Jenni Holm and Laurel Snyder, and Happy Book Birthday!