Seeing books through an author's eyes

 
 
The seventh graders were finishing their novels.
 
 


Since November 1st, they'd been participating in National Novel Writing Month.
 
 


In the process, they had gotten very familiar with the architecture of an extended story. 
 
 


The fourth graders were working on their moon journals.
 
 


They’d taken the past week to log the moon’s changes.
 
 


As scientists, they’d been careful to record only what they’d observed.
 
 


For today’s entry, they gave themselves a little artistic license.
 
 
 
The technique was a knowing wink at Eric Carle's work.
 
 
 
The second graders were meeting with James Howe, this year’s Karla Harry Visiting Author.
 
 


He walked them through the process of writing his picture book Otter and Odder.
 
 
 
He generously opened his files, and shared with them all of his false starts and alternate ideas.
 
 


“Have you ever thought you were done with something,” he asked, “and then found out you had to start all over again?”

 
 
Before they finished, the students shared a surprise with him.
 
 
 
 
Unbeknownst to Mr. Howe, Otter and Odder had won the 2013 Gordon School Multicultural Picture Book Award.
 
 
 
The award winner is chosen each year by the Gordon second grade, after a long process of critical reading and gradewide discussion.
 
 
 
 
 
 
But this was the first time an author had been at Gordon to accept the award in person.
 

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