March 9, 2023
Children’s author visits Baker Elementary
Baker Elementary’s youngest learners recently welcomed a special visitor to their school. Best-selling author Jean Reidy talked with students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade about her experiences writing and illustrating children’s books.
Jean Reidy is an award-winning author of 15 children’s books, including “Truman,” “Light Up the Night,” “Time-out for Monsters,” and “Pup 681.” She is a three-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, a Parent’s Choice Gold Award Winner, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor winner and recognized on “Best of” lists by School Library Journal, the New York Times, NPR and Amazon.
The author visit was planned by Baker Elementary School Librarian Linda Connor, who had met Mrs. Reidy previously.
“I chose Jean because I had seen her present before, and I knew that she could connect with the kids and excite them about reading and writing,” Mrs. Connor said. “Also, she writes stories on a variety of topics that the students really enjoyed.”
In her two Serving Up Stories assemblies, Mrs. Reidy took Baker students through her picture book creation process, including dreaming, writing, revising and illustrating. She answered questions about why she loves to write books and what inspires her.
“The students really enjoyed talking to her about her writing and revising process, why she writes, and her experiences creating a story,” Mrs. Connor said. “She shared how she gets her ideas and had the students find the ways illustrations change from the first draft to the final book. We even did an inspiring movement break to remind us to look around and dream!”
While this author’s visit was geared to students in the primary grades, Baker’s third and fourth graders participated in a virtual author visit via Zoom on Jan. 31 with award-winning authors/illustrator Kate Messner and Grace Lin. Their book, “Once Upon a Book,” is described as a modern folktale about the joy of reading.
“They talked about how they shared ideas and really built the book together by sharing it via texts, emails, Facetime, etc.,” Mrs. Connor said. “The students were able to hear how their ideas changed and expanded as they wrote together. Students were able to do a paired drawing with Grace Lin.”
Mrs. Connor hopes that the authors’ visits will help students gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the writing process.
“It's great for students to be able to interact with authors because they learn that they are real people who work hard to make a story that is enjoyed,” she said. “Jean Reidy told our students, ‘You are my people!’ She shared that when she writes, she is thinking of them and their likes and experiences.