Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Honoring Dr. Seuss' Birthday

What better way to honor Dr. Seuss' birthday than to participate in a READ ACROSS AMERICA event at friend Steve Evangelista's charter school, Harlem Links! Steve found me last year through my grandmother's website, and came to a few writing workshops that I was leading at Morningside Bookstore on the Upper West Side (including a workshop based on A Wrinkle in Time.) He then invited me to come and share my love of reading with some other writers and board members of his school.

So it was with eager anticipation today that I walked over to Harlem Links' new location on 111th and Lenox. I would also be hanging out with friends Elizabeth Winthrop and Courtney Sheinmel. Elizabeth is old friends with two of the board members, (Steve had made the connection between Elizabeth and myself through this blog), and I had recommended Courtney because I think every tween should read POSITIVELY. (Elizabeth's catalog of work is too long and awe-inspiring to list!)

We were greeted by coffee and muffins, and had a chance to schmooze with some of the other guests. This was followed by each pair of guest readers sitting at a table with four "ambassador" students. Elizabeth and I were at a table with four fifth graders who were eager to be read to. One girl remembered me from last year, and that I had read The Lorax to her fourth grade class. Would I read it again? You bet! Elizabeth and I developed a great rhythm together with the kids: I read and paused at certain places, and we would raise questions about character and plot.

Next up: Elizabeth and I went to different classrooms for a read-aloud and a Q&A. Elizabeth brought her book, Squashed In the Middle to read. I asked my two ambassadors to choose a book for me, and they picked my favorite: Oh, the Places You'll Go!

The kids brought me up to their classroom and set up a chair for me, even offering me water and going so far as getting me a peppermint!

I enjoy reading aloud immensely - and this was no different. The children were attentive and appreciative, but it was the Q & A that blew me away: so much curiosity and sharp intelligence about the writing process! I could have stayed much longer and schmoozed with them, but alas, they had the rest of the school day, and other things to learn.

Courtney and I met afterward for lunch in the neighborhood. We compared notes on a wonderful, enriching morning, feeling grateful to have our opportunities in the literary world, and the chance to enthuse young readers about books.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Next post: Thursday, March 4th - another Writers for Writers lunch!


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