Thank you! Shepherd Elementary School Early Readers.
This morning I accompanied my mother to her volunteer position as a reader for the Shepherd School Early Readers program. I’ve discussed the program here originally, and here as a follow up. (So I suppose this is a follow up to the follow up.) I was fabulously surprised by the number of books that my colleagues at the MidAtlantic SCBWI region collected and was there as an SCBWI representative to take pictures and do a little research for an article I’m pitching to the SCBWI Bulletin. I DID NOT know that I was the main event. How wonderful for me that I got to talk a little about my own book, do a reading, and meet the inspiring children who will read these donated books.
They kept thanking me, and gave me a gift, and that wonderful signed poster in the picture– but truly no thanks was necessary: 1) the MidAtlantic SCBWI folks did the heavy lifting and 2) being able to read to and take in the energy of the kids was more valuable than any gift.
It was just what I needed to keep working on my new novel and handle the agent waiting game– AGAIN. At the end of the studying, and the work, and the art, and the craft, and the business, is the children. Let us all give thanks for the readers.
Book worship is inherent in all of the posts here at Creative Chaos. The art and craft of the book as object is certainly part of this but more– it is about the unlimited possibilities and pleasure of reading. As many of my blog readers know, I’ve posted before about the many children and adults around the world who struggle with illiteracy. However, we need not travel far from home to find people who are learning to read.
Very close to my heart and home, at my own Shepherd Elementary school in Northwest Washington, DC, my Mom and a group of volunteers are working with ESL and other early reading students three times a week to bring them one on one and small group read aloud experiences.
Because of ubiquitous budget cuts the Shepherd School library is no longer staffed and the books are outdated. Today I’m calling on all authors and readers out there for book donations. Students in the program are African-American, Asian, Latino, and African and the organizers are especially interested in books that mirror this diversity.
If you have written a picture book or early reader and you are wondering what to do with your author copies, consider donating them to the Early Readers Program. If you are an MFA student at VCFA, Hamlin, Lesley, Simmons, or any other Children’s and Young Adult Writing/Literature programs, I know you have a shelves of books. Yes, some of them you will love and cherish forever, but some you could pass along to others. If you are just a reader. Just a reader? A wonderful, amazing reader… Please consider donating a book to:
Early Readers Program
1220 East West Highway, Apt 504
Silver Spring, MD 20910