Children’s authors bond with students on many levels with their books but it’s not often they enjoy face-to-face contact with the young readers. Thanks to the fourth “Write to Connect” program from Follett Content Solutions, it again will become a reality for students whose teachers have nominated their classroom by the Friday, Sept. 29 deadline.
The Write to Connect author for Fall 2023 is Ana Aranda, whose picture book, Our Day of the Dead Celebration, was published last September by Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books. In the book, a warm, loving family honors their living and dead relatives as they celebrate the Day of the Dead with shared food and stories. Aranda's whimsical, bright illustrations are full of joy, and the story is a powerful reminder that our loved ones are always with us.
Once the entry deadline has passed, six classrooms will be randomly selected to participate and their journey will begin by receiving Aranda’s book. After the teacher has read the book to the students, the youths will be asked to send their questions to the author. One of the six classrooms will be randomly chosen to participate in a live video conference call with the author, while the other five schools will receive a personalized, pre-recorded message.
Aranda is the seventh author to participate in Write to Connect. Gaia Cornwall, author of Jabari Jumps (Candlewick Press), was the most recent one as she held a video conference last spring with an elementary school in Valdosta, Ga.
“It's always fun to get a chance to connect with kids and classrooms and teachers,” Cornwall said. “One of my favorite parts of being a picture book creator is getting to meet with kids and to talk to them about books and reading. The Write to Connect program was so lovely because it provided an extra layer of communication through the letters they sent to me plus the videos. It gave us more connection; it felt like we were in a conversation together. And that felt special.”
Shamoria Williams, teacher at W.G. Nunn Elementary School in Valdosta, said Write to Connect created a meaningful experience for her second-grade students.
“This was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for many of them,” Williams said. “Most kids have never had the chance to connect to an author of a book. So, being able to write a letter to an author and being able to speak to one is something that I hope they cherish. The students were so excited about connecting with the author. It warmed my heart knowing they were so ready for the moment.”
Teachers interested in entering the free Write to Connect giveaway should visit www.allbooksforallkids.com/authors/write-to-connect for complete information.
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