Robin Hopper, now an elementary school principal, used to host a reading TV show in Merced County, California. Here, “Miss Robin” interviews me about interests that inform my writing—music and foreign languages—as well as childhood experiences.
What makes different forms of writing unique? The length of the phrases, the attitude, the feel—the same sorts of elements that make drum rhythms unique. Demonstrating different drum beats for students helps them to appreciate the rhythm of words.
The Jazz Fly (book w/ audio) performed at school play, P.S. 140 Queens, New York
Calling the school assembly to order…Here’s how I began my upper grade presentation at Northview Elementary School in Manhattan, KS. When 250 students and their teachers gather for an “author assembly,” they are probably not expecting this. I find that this non-verbal way of interacting intrigues the audience and makes them that much more receptive to what I have to say about reading and writing.
Award-winning author, Matthew Gollub, reads Taste of Uncle Snake. A mysterious and captivating tale explaining the origins of lightning. Something unearthly happens when a boy enters a forbidden cave, and no curandero can change him back to what he was.
Matthew Gollub performs a storytelling version of his book, “The Moon Was at a Fiesta” for kindergarten students at Mariposa School in Redlands, CA. Author assemblies introduce students to working authors, storytellers and illustrators. Many schools prepare for such events by reading the author’s works beforehand and creating artwork based on characters from given stories such as this popular tale based on Mexican folklore. The “monigotes” and “papel picado” that adorn the stage in the background are examples of student artwork. The author is playing bongo drums. Students standing to the right of him were selected as volunteers to play percussion instruments.
Teaching parents about reading? Show them this humorous video.Ideal for Spanish-speakers. English-only audiences can enjoy it too by reading along. The sketch addresses common reasons why some parents hesitate reading to their kids: lack of confidence in their own reading ability, fear that their child might grow bored, preference for watching TV, etc. Kiki makes it abundantly clear that it’s the closeness and time together with her parents that count.
I’ve studied and worked in Japan for three years. During part of that time, I lived in a Shinto shrine—a sort of temple—where I interned with a troupe of taiko drummers. Here is a demonstration of some of the rhythms I learned. The mask I’m wearing was made by my sister, artist Joan Gollub. It was made to loosely resemble an oni, the sort of Japanese goblins that appear in one of my books.