Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Helpers Everywhere

I notice there are some recurring themes to my latest reflections - they are all intertwined.

Last week was a busy one. My car (see October 24) died again on Monday night after my boot camp session (see September 19) so there was the hassle of renting a substitute. On Wednesday, I drove to Niagara Falls to run two sessions about Minecraft at a conference (this time with Andy Forgrave and Jen Apgar at #BIT16, instead of Denise Colby at #ETFOT4T - see October 31). On Thursday, I had hoped to talk with the fabulous Andrew Woodrow-Butcher about titles for my upcoming Teach Ontario course while at the GTA Resource Fair but it was too busy a time to conduct that sort of business at the fair, so on Sunday (yesterday) I drove to Little Island Comics to spend some quality time planning and reviewing (see November 7).  While at the GTA Resource Fair to purchase books for the school library, my students and I met someone with whom we just clicked (see October 17).

My students and I go book shopping regularly, and I really don't know what I'd do without them. They know the collection much more intimately than I do. They carry all the heavy boxes. They get excited when they see new books and they take purchasing seriously.

Another type of "book helper" is the individual who volunteers to help their vendor comrades with customers and questions. This group is varied, from retired teacher-librarians like Cathy Baker, to publishers like Richard Jones, to authors like Tory Woollcott, but all united in their love for literature and willingness to help.

Tory charmed my students (and me) with her enthusiasm, knowledge about graphic novels, and her sense of humour. My students had no idea they were speaking to a real, honest-to-goodness author and illustrator until I told them. Books were autographed and photos were taken. I don't have permission to post my students' faces, so apologies if this looks like a police lineup!

I'm going to rely on another set of book helpers in the next few weeks - my fellow staff members. In preparation for our Forest of Reading program launch in January 2017, the teachers read the nominated titles in advance so that they can chat with the students about the books. I'm grateful and relieved that the people who work at my school love to read and volunteer happily to read these books and give up their recess times to have conversations about books.

I will end with a shout-out to another book helper - my adult volunteer, Mrs. Pat McNaughton, mother of talented teacher-librarian Kim Davidson. She helps to train my library helpers and comes to my schools two half-days a week to shelve books and keep the library tidy, despite my crazy projects strewn around the space. (I'm not joking - we're filming six different media videos using everything from Lego to Fisher Price toys to claymation to puppets to acting in front of green screens and in Minecraft. It looks like a tornado passed through, but Pat is the calm in the storm, ensuring that books are put back properly.) Last Friday, she and I were able to Quick-Cat process all of the books I bought the previous day from the Resource Fair. Thank you to all the book helpers everywhere!

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