Sunday, July 19, 2009

Laurie Keller Author Visit

I am a little late posting this. Okay, so I am a lot late. With the end of the school year, things got crazy as they do. And then I traveled a bit and didn't have the time to give this post the energy it deserved. So, now I finally have the time to reflect on the great author visit that we had in late May. Author and illustrator, Laurie Keller visited our school in May. She also visited the Dublin Branch Library. It was a great day!

If you haven't read each and every one of Laurie Keller's books, every one is great. The fact that she is author AND illustrator is key because so much of the story goes on in the illustrations--and even in the lettering. Her characters are great and her humor is brilliant. Each one of Keller's books is one that can grow with kids. My daughter's personal favorite book is ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT. And, it was the favorite among the whole K-5 school who read and enjoyed all of her books. The story is a fun one--Arnie is purchased by a nice man, only to discover that the man intends to eat him! Arnie is shocked and the story goes from there. I can see why this has been my daughter's favorite for years. The story is fun--the whole concept is pretty fun. And the side comments probably make more sense as her sense of humor has developed. So she can enjoy it on different levels as she grows. All of Keller's books do this.

Laurie Keller was a great author to have visit our school. I was lucky enough to be part of all of the sessions and the students had such a great time with her. One of the things that was so nice was the tie-in to art. She not only talked about her books and her writing process but she spent lots of each session teaching kids to draw those characters that they love. Kids came with pencil, paper and clipboard and they left with quite a sense of pride and accomplishment. Laurie taught us how to draw several things--I was amazed at how simple she made it look. After her visit, many kids in the school created their own stories about the characters she had taught them to draw! (And at the Dublin Library, even children's library, Loren Scully was learned to draw some of Keller's characters!)

Keller's books are all great books for home, classrooms and school libraries. She has a unique format and a unique sense of humor that kids an adults enjoy. Even though I read all of her books to all of our classes, I never tired of them. I laughed every time and during every read, I noticed something that I had missed before.

DO UNTO OTTERS is a book that we have in every classroom of our school. It is a great book about manners and Keller writes it in a way that makes the topic amusing and engaging for kids. It is a great way to start conversations with kids about manners and the ways we treat each other.

OPEN WIDE: TOOTH SCHOOL INSIDE does a great job of teaching kids about teeth and dental health.

SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA and SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA TALENT SHOW are two of Keller's most popular books. She brings each state to life in fun stories so that kids learn about the states. Not only are these books great but the game, Scrambled States of America was quite a hit in the library. 4th and 5th graders had a fun time learning about the states and US geography with the books and the game.

Laurie also shared her upcoming book ME AND MY ANIMAL FRIENDS. This one is written by Ralph Covert of Ralph's World. Laurie Keller's illustrations make the book quite fun and I can't wait to add this new book to our library.

I do not often like video versions of children's books but Weston Woods has done an amazing job with Keller's books. Because there is so much going on in the illustrations, and because the side comments are too good to skip when reading aloud, I loved sharing the videos with the kids at school. The characters really come to life in each of the videos.

I would highly recommend Laurie Keller as an author visit if you are looking for someone. Her books are great fun for students from K-5. And she is great with kids--building a confidence and inviting them to do more with her characters. Plus, she is great fun to be around. She is genuinely excited about the kids and their learning and that shows in the way she talks to them and the excitement she shows about their work. And if you aren't looking for an author to visit your school, I would definitely add Laurie's books to your collection. Her graphics and the humor that she uses are great ways to teach kids about lots of things.

1 comment:

  1. a delightful blog you have here- i love 'a year of reading'


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