People often remember the times in their live when they run into someone “famous”. When my brother was on a high school spring break baseball trip he saw professional wrestler Ric Flair in the airport. Last year when returning from IRA I ran into Mario Lopez (It took everything in me not to call him AC Slater).
These moments were cool, but when we get a chance to interact with our heroes our lives can be changed forever. For many of us teachers that moment might be when we attend a session done by Penny Kittle, Donalyn Miller, or Teri Lesensne. Meeting these teaching legends can have an impact that stretches far beyond the hour we spend with them.
My hope is that my students see the creators of stories, authors and illustrators, as heroes. I want them to find such a love for books that they see their creators as superstars.
The impact connecting with an author can be life changing. Click on the images below to see how an interaction with an author inspired Jennifer Holm and Jarrett J. Krosoczka.
In Jarrett’s TED Talk he shares how a couple of kind works from Jack Gantos changed his life (He starts talking about it around 2:30).
Ways we can connect our readers to authors and illustrators:
Hundreds of authors offer free 15-20 minute Skype sessions with book clubs, and classrooms that have read their books.
Kate Messner has a list of some of these authors on her website.
Katherine Sokolowski shared on her blog last week about the impact Skype is having on her students.
2. Author/Illustrator Visits
I know that budgets are tight. I understand that most schools do not have money to spend to bring an author or illustrator into their school, but if there is a will there is a way. I’ve heard of schools funding author visits through: grants, fundraisers, and donations. There is something special about having a published book creator visiting the space the same space that your students create their own stories.
Hard to put a price-tag on these life changing moments.
Click on the image below to read about the awesomeness that took place when Jennifer Holm visited my school last year.
Twitter is a great place to connect your readers to the creators of the books they’ve read. If you send out a tweet from your class Twitter account or your personal Twitter account, and you tag the author, chance are the will respond. Kids are blown away when their favorite authors and illustrators respond to their questions on Twitter.
Cynthia Alaniz shares her classroom’s interaction with Caldecott Honor winning author Peter Brown.
Ann King shares the impact Tweeting with Drew Daywalt had on her class.
4. Fan Mail
It worked before the internet. It still works now.
Tom Angleberger has forever changed the way readers interact with book creators. Visit his site to see how he interacts with his Super Folders.
5. Book Shops
If you cannot bring the author to you, go to the author. For a list of independent book shops in your area check out the Indie Bound site by clicking on the link below.