It’s not often that folks compete for the honor to have lunch with me (especially when I’m not footing the bill) but it happened on October 6th. And it was a blast!
I was in Allenstown, NH awarding a Rural Libraries sponsorship to Allenstown Public Library. CLiF donated $2,000 in new, hardcover children’s books to the public library (which was able to purchase only 18 new books last year), and almost $500 in new children’s books to the school library.
It was a busy and festive day. I gave literacy and storytelling presentations at the elementary school to 115 children from pre-K through grade two, at the middle school to 110 children from grades four through six, and at a local childcare center to 25 toddlers.
The school-aged kids learned all about the new books at the library; the kids at the childcare were able to select two new books to keep.
In recent weeks the elementary school students were very excited a storyteller was visiting, and several asked if they could join me for lunch. The teachers started a contest. Any student could write an essay explaining why he or she wanted to have lunch with the storyteller. In each of the 12 classes the student with the best essay won. For example, here’s a winning submission from Rachel, a 3rd grader:
“The resson I sould have lunch with the storyteller because I have questchens. I also, want to kwow how the storyteller change their voice so I can be a acter or a auther. Also, I would be cool to talk to and it achtually would be amazing to meet a real alive storyteller. Hofelly she can tell me how to be a very good acter!”
The 12 students and I met in the school library, and we were joined in our pizza power lunch by school librarian Dana Crowell, public librarian Debbie Gadwah-Lambert, and elementary school principal Anthony Blinn. We talked about our favorite books, and what it was that we enjoyed about them. The young writers talked about their current writing projects and the challenges they encountered. I told them about the articles and stories I had written and the obstacles I faced.
I ended the session by telling the students they had an amazing gift-–the ability to create entire worlds out of their imagination that other people could enter–-and that I looked forward to reading their works soon.