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Benefits of an Author/Illustrator Visit to YOUR Community

The following comment was made by a school administrator during a seminar discussion focusing on reading achievement and the use of books in the classroom:

What a piece of work is a book!

Observation - The long hours, the many talents and creativity involved in composing, organizing, agreeing upon, assembling, and printing a children's book is amazing, rewarding, and unknown to most of our young readers. If we all were so fortunate to be able to somehow demonstrate, with class visits to publishers or author and/or illustrator visits to our classrooms, I think our readers would become more enthralled, if that is possible, with the art and craft of children's literature./

I have been fortunate to have several authors visit schools in which I have been working. The true excitement that children get from holding the hand of a real live author brings tears to my eyes. Whether it is the long journey the author made to publish a book, or the enthusiasm those authors were able to pass on to our students that made that glow, I do not know. I only know that seeing the lady or the man who made the book is an experience that they and I will not forget.

-- Administrator/Principal DODD School

When an author or illustrator is invited to visit with readers the visit helps to:

Make the entire library a potential reading source as children search for more of the authors work and for other books with connecting themes.

Create a sense of achievement as readers begin to recognize the connections in the works of different writers and as they identify universal themes and topics.

Challenge minds to think in new terms as each connection is found between two or more books.

Bring more books and reading into the curriculum.

(Reprinted, with permission, from ABCs of an Author/Illustrator Visit, rev. ed. by Sharron McElmeel (Linworth)
ABCs for an Author/Illustrator Visit (Linworth)

An Author a Month: For Pennies

Benefits of an author/illustrator study (of which a visit from the author/illustrator is the ultimate culmination):

Focusing on an author to provide a structure for the sharing of literature does several things for readers in the community/school. The focus allows for the organization of activities and a time to read in such a way as to provide for the achievement of curriculum or program goals. A respect for the body of work of a writer or illustrator is developed the connections between the author/illustrator's many works become apparent as those works are read extensively. The entire library becomes a potential reading source as children search for more of the author's work and for connecting books and themes. All feel a sense of achievement as connections are recognized, in the works of different writers and as they identify universal themes and topics. When a connection is found between two books the mind is challenged to think in new terms. The more readers learn about literature the more ways they will find to bring books into their work place. Literature will enrich the curriculum and will find its way into every area.

Culminating the focus in some way helps to reflect on the learning that has taken place. Culminations may take place as read-a-thons, a book sharing day, plays etc. but the ultimate culmination is when children have an opportunity to hear the book's creator tell about the writing or illustrating the book; and have a chance to comment and question.

 Quoted/adapted from An Author a Month (for Pennies) (Libraries Unlimited)

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