South Seneca Central School, Ithaca, New York
Reading to children is always fun, but I had the special privilege of visiting South Seneca last month for their author day. Situated on the west side of Cayuga Lake, I drove to the school enjoying the beautiful fall foliage.
My day was a busy one beginning with two readings to kindergarten and pre-K students. We demonstrated how two trains share a single track and what happens to the brakeman riding on top of the train when he spots a tunnel.
The 4th and 5th grades were treated to some of the inside information I’ve gathered from other children’s authors through my interviews with them. Even though writers aren’t necessarily at their desks, they are writing. Laurie Friedman plans her stories while walking her dog, Ollie. Douglas Florian reads copious amounts of nonfiction for his short animal poems. Using Mini Grey as an example, I showed students how the illustrations of a picture book are just another way to tell a story.
The day closed with a lively group of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders who were willing to dive into whatever demonstrations and questions I could dream up. In turn, I treated students to the stories behind the publication of Jingle the Brass, such as the significance of the date on the first page; why one of the tanker cars says Wes on it; and why Joe looks the way he does.
I believe I met virtually all of South Seneca’s students–close to 500 of them! I thank them for their enthusiasm, their great questions, and mostly their love of reading.