Authors, Illustrators, and Storytellers, Oh My!

What do these things have in common? Well, they are all an integral part of the CLiF Year of the Book grant. Boscawen Elementary School in Boscawen, NH was one of ten schools across NH & VT that won this grant worth $25,000 for the 2018-19 school year. By the end of the year, we will have been engaged, entertained, and encouraged by at least seven of CLiF’s amazing authors, illustrators, and storytellers.


In September, CLiF founder/Executive Director/storyteller Duncan McDougall kicked off our year by sharing some of his favorite stories and how they allow him to travel all over the world. Next, author/illustrator John Steven Gurney entertained and taught us about his illustrations and writing process during our library event to promote both our school and public libraries.

The fabulous and funny Natalie Kinsey-Warnock got us interested in learning about our own family histories through engaging presentations about her own family stories, genealogy, artifacts, the census, old photos, and online research, Fourth and fifth grade students chose a family member to research in order to create their own family history projects. One student said, “Natalie’s stories were so inspiring!”



In March, author Ted Scheu (“That Poetry Guy”) tickled our “gigglebones” during an all-school assembly.  Children’s faces lit up with excitement as he shared his poems, drawings, and songs. Then, during three days of workshops, he encouraged and helped our second and third graders become better poets. One Boscawen teacher says,“The whole school was highly engaged and excited throughout Mr. Scheu’s assembly presentation. His energy and enthusiasm about poetry was infectious! Our students in 2nd and 3rd grades really enjoyed learning how to write poems with him. We would love to have him back some day!”

NH author/illustrator Marty Kelley is scheduled to visit BES soon to work with our youngest writers in kindergarten and first grade, as well as entertain us all during a whole school assembly.

Author S.S. Taylor will visit at the end of May to help us celebrate our Read To Me contracts with a special presentation and ice cream social. Finally, in June, storyteller Simon Brooks with help us wrap up our Year of the Book with a Finale Event!

While every author, illustrator, and storyteller has been memorable, I would say that what was most memorable was our Family Literacy Dinner & Celebration with Marty Kelley. We had a huge turnout of families at our event in January, even though it was a slippery, snowy evening. One of CLiF’s most important goals is to support literacy in the home by providing parents with information about reading with their children and by giving all students ten free books throughout the year. To that end, Marty had relaxed and informal conversations with small groups of parents about how they can support their children’s literacy. At the end of the evening, families laughed and smiled together as Marty shared some of his hilarious stories. Before heading back out into the snowy night, parents helped their children choose a new book to bring home and read as a bedtime story. Is there anything better to do on a snowy evening?



Boscawen Year of the Book coordinator Jen Kusnarowis says,“Being a CLiF Year of the Book school has been a special gift that we will carry in our hearts and minds forever. It has given our students an understanding of the importance of literacy. It has encouraged our families to read, talk about, and enjoy books together. It has supported our teachers through mini-grants, writer’s workshops, and free classroom books. It has bolstered our school and public libraries with dozens of free books. A literate life equals a successful and enjoyable life, and CLiF has helped our school build a culture of literacy to help us on that journey.”


Watch our video to learn more about the CLiF Year of the Book!




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