She is well known for her Bible story quilts which now hang in the Smithsonian and the Boston Museum of Art. I brought in my replica of her quilt for students to see. Scholastic sent books for pre-ordering ahead of the event, so we were also able to read the first chapter before the visit. Our library windows transformed into the cover of the book with a the title sign, trees, and tombstones representing some of our Athens graveyard residents.
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India Hill Brown spoke for about 30 minutes to our 4th and 5th graders. She shared some of her favorite books as a child as well as her love of writing from an early age. However, she said one way to get over your fear of something is by doing it or by turning it into art. India showed us pictures of the cemetery in her own community that inspired her to write the book. She wanted to weave in the history of forgotten cemeteries with a ghost story. We always love it when authors share the creative process of a story, and India showed us how the story went through multiple revisions and edits to reach the final version.
I loved how she explained the different kinds of changes she made from the content of the story to spelling mistakes. Students are always surprised how long the entire process takes. Even though the first draft was done in about a month, the entire process of creating the finished book took over a year. Students had a chance to ask India lots of questions about writing and her favorite things in life.
I even got to ask a questions about any ghostly happenings she has encountered in her own life. After her talk, India took time to greet students as they exited. I loved seeing students making connections with her and even doing chants and hand clapping games with her.
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Many times when we host and author, they are in a hurry to get to their next event. We usually do signing without students and then deliver books.
India wanted to greet her readers, so we had students wait in the library and get in line for greeting and signing. I loved watching students glow as they met her and shared their excitement about her book.
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Now that the visit is over, we have 5 copies of the book in the library and all 5 have already been checked out. Every classroom also has a copy in the classroom thanks to our PTA. I have a feeling many students who missed out on pre-orders will want to purchase the book at our fall book fair. Thank you Scholastic Book Fairs for bringing India to our school.
Thank you India Hill Brown for sharing your historically important story with our readers.
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We are 3 weeks into the new school year and we are so thankful that we were able to host an author and illustrator for students in PreK-1st grade. We also took pictures of every student in K-1 and put their pictures on the windows of the library with clip art crowns to welcome Derrick and Vanessa to our school. When Derrick and Vanessa arrived at our school, they were greeted by two of our 5th grade Barrow ambassadors.
These students welcome visitors to our school, give tours of our school, and make sure special guests are well taken care of. They took their job very seriously and helped Derrick and Vanessa get settled in the library and helped deliver all of the signed books to classrooms. As students entered to get seated, their excitement was palpable. Look behind you! They are here. Derrick shared a little about himself and his family. He also shared that his own children are the faces of characters on the covers of his books.
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During this time, Derrick talked about the importance of every person being able to see themselves on the cover of a book and that he felt his job was to fill in some of the gaps that exist in the publishing world. Vanessa also shared about herself. We learned that she is dyslexic and she talked with the kids about working with that challenge in her life.
She also stutters, so she talked with the kids about how that has impacted her and asked for their help in staying peaceful while she talked so that she could formulate her words. It was so important for kids to hear about these challenges she faced in her life but was still able to do something that she loved. Vanessa also showed us some of her art books and shared that she loves to leave pieces of art everywhere she goes so that people can find her work and add some art to their lives. Always greet your teachers and classmates each day with a good morning which they all turned and did right away!
Be kind. Represent your family name. Make them proud. As Derrick read the book, Vanessa drew the king of Kindergarten. I loved hearing students filling in the parts of the text they remembered as Derrick read. They also noticed that Derrick and his wife are in the book too. Vanessa also included a couple of students from our audience in her drawing. She shared that she has a photographic memory and uses people she sees as characters. As Derrick and Vanessa said goodbye, so many students came up to smile, wave, point out parts of the book, touch Derrick and Vanessa, or give them a hug.
I was so thankful that all of our young learners got to hear their message, see their faces in person, and be inspired by their work and stories. What happens after an author visit is always special. Kids recognize the books in the library and immediately check them all out. Kids get inspired to create their own art and stories. This time because so many kids received a copy of the book, we saw kids excitedly putting books into their backpacks to go home and read with their family and many brought the books back to school to read here too.
Thank you so much Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley Newton for sharing your talents with our students. Thank you Avid Bookshop for bring author and illustrators to our school. The impact will last well beyond this minute visit. Thank you. We are so fortunate to have an amazing independent bookshop in our community, Avid Bookshop. Veera is on tour for the paperback version of the book which was released on April 23, From the Publisher :. Each student choice a statement that resonated with them and wrote a diary entry to explain why they agreed or disagreed with the statement.
These diary entries were displayed in the windows of the library to welcome Veera. Questions ranged from how to decide on characters to how her father came to America to which religion she identifies with to how she gathered information about the partitioning. Before she left, Veera chatted with a few individual students and signed several books. Thanks to our PTA every 5th grade classroom has 6 books as well as a set of 15 books to be used in 5th grade book clubs. The library also has multiple copies for student checkout. Students are eager to read the book before the close of the school year and we look forward to using this book next year with book groups.
Thank you Veera Hirananadani for sharing your story with all of us. Each year, the art teacher and I collaborate on a 3D design and 3D printing project to accompany her art standards in 1st grade. Blokify has been a trusty 3D design tool that has served this project well due to its simplicity on the iPad. However, this year we hit a road block. Blokify is no longer available in the app store, and this was the year that our iPads finally quit supporting its functionality.