Professional connections

This week's Book Fair was a campus-wide celebration that drew in every corner of the school.

 

Students had been preparing for months.

 

Their work showed, on the walls of the Joukowsky Family Library...

 

in the outfits they chose for dress-as-a-book-character day...

 

and, best of all, in the informed and thoughtful conversation they had with the authors they met this week.

 

Monica Brown, this year's Karla Harry Visiting Author, connected with students of all ages.

 

Let's count the ways her work is like the Gordon School:

 

1. Her books value visual storytelling alongside the written word

 

2. Her books honor the stories of cultural leaders and social justice advocates

 

3. Her books are mostly in English, with a lot of Spanish

 

4. Her books are created with the knowledge that books can serve as mirrors in which young readers can see themselves reflected

 

5. Her books recognize that literature can also be a window through which young people can learn about the experiences of others

 

6. Her books get people up and moving around

 

7. Her books are a lot of fun

 

This year, the Karla Harry Visiting Author was joined by an unprecedented number of additional children's authors.

 

Author and illustrator Deborah Freedman spent Wednesday afternoon meeting with Early Childhood students.

 

In Kindergarten green group, she shared her secret technique for creating effective splashes and spills with watercolors.

 

Then, with great solemnity, the students tried it for themselves.

 

Never before have Kindergarteners made a mess so quietly and carefully.

 

Jerry Craft was ready to talk art technique, as well.

 

His fifth grade workshop got everyone drawing.

 

In eighth grade, the conversation went to narrative and theme.

 

His Kirkus-prize-winning New Kid, about an African-American seventh grader at a mostly white independent school, is based on his own experience and that of his sons.

 

The classroom - the mostly white, independent school classroom - offered a variety of ways to approach the setting and theme of New Kid. 

 

Mr Craft and the students helped themselves to all of these approaches.

 

The resulting conversation was filled with insights that served as windows and mirrors for everyone in the classroom.

 

Mr. Craft was watching the students as closely as they were watching him. 

 

He's working on a sequel to New Kid, and eagerly gathering data on what independent school eighth graders are wearing, saying and doing these days.

 

On Thursday afternoon, the Book Fair welcomed one more children's author.

 

This was Jazzmin Imani's first book fair signing.

 

With her first visitors, she demonstrated that she knew how to talk to young readers.

 

And Gordon's young readers showed they can hold their own in conversation with an author.

 

Gordon's Book Fair is open one more day, Friday, December 6th, 7:30am to 5pm. Learn more at www.gordonschool.org/bookfair

Many more photos from the week are online on Gordon's Flickr page
 

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