Give Thanks

School librarians lead by Moses Castillo pose as Jazz Fly characters based on Jazz Fly books.

One day after Thanksgiving, as I resist the urge to fight the crowds of Black Friday and procure an operational DVD player, I feel THANKS for my work encouraging young people to read. Specifically, I feel THANKS for my recent tour to south Texas–an 11-school march through the Rio Grande Valley town of Weslaco, capped by a family evening event at the Horizon Montessori School in McAllen. Even more specifically, I feel THANKS for the school librarians in Weslaco, who devoted such energy and creativity to their District Wide Evening Literacy Event. Here’s what they did:

They mobilized hundreds of parents and children to attend, despite the unexpected circumstance of the two local high school football teams making the playoffs. One of the teams, apparently in the playoffs for the first time, had their game fall exactly on the night of this event. In small town Texas, such a conflict normally would torpedo the attendance at a family reading event. They say that attendance took a hit compared to past years. Still, families still turned out in droves. The librarians dressed up at as characters from my books–Patty Avila as Farmer Beth of “Gobble, Quack, Moon;” Karen Boward as a Oaxacan villager wearing in a beautiful hand-embroidered dress; Eddie Cavazos as one of the monigotes from “The Moon Was at a Fiesta,” etc. Then each librarian lead an activity station to help children and parents create simple art projects based on the books.  This gave chlidren a chance to tell their parents about the books, while fashioning Mixtec Cat masks, miniature taiko drums, Jazz Fly wings, etc. I signed books while this went on for an hour or so leading up to my short presentation. Engaging the public in book content while giving them something to do with their hands–brilliant! My THANKS also to librarian Moses Castillo for sending these charming photos!

Librarian Eddie Cavazos helps families create "papel picado" based on "The Moon Was at a Fiesta"

Librarian Angie Hinojosa leads families in making dark glasses based on "Three Blind Mice" from the book "Wooleycat's Musical Theater."

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