Yes, Virginia…

CSLA poster session 

I've had the pleasure of hanging out with librarians and reading teachers lately, at the California School Library Association conference SCHOOL LIBRARIES MAKE CONNECTIONS in Sacramento and last night at the Sacramento Area Reading Association's Mad Hatter's Tea Party. People who love words as much as I do. Who share their love of books with young readers everywhere. I can't thank them enough. Long ago, one such person let me–a 6th grader–go down the hall once a week to read to the kindergarteners. Talk about connections! Books were no longer just my private escape. Reading aloud to the kinders was a rewarding communal experience. : ) One that I think of every time I do a school visit.

How to thank them? LoriLimElissaHadenGuest The list is too long…Jane Ritter, Penny Kastanis, Joanne Arellanes, Lori Lim (in photo R with author Elissa Haden guest), Janet Melikian, Norma Vance, Mary Helen Fischer, Julie Africa, Lorraine Littlejohn, Sandy Pattison, Wendy Chason, Sharon Hallberg …and countless others. How to thank them?

  • Share some of the theater games and writing activities that build fluency and fun in the classroom. (Yes, it's still allowed!) Provide a list of affordable school visits from authors &illustrators! (Yes, it's possible!) If you missed the CSLA conference and want the handouts, contact me through my web site: www.erindealey.com and I'll get them to you. 
  • Spread the word about a fabulous funding opportunity: 

    SCBWI’s Amber Brown Fund Grant: See http://www.scbwi.org/awards.htm  

    “Any school with the desire and commitment to enrich their curriculum with a guest author or illustrator is eligible to apply. However, this grant is primarily focused on bringing an author or illustrator to a school that cannot or has not been able to afford this privilege.”  Applications may be submitted between November 1st and December 31st.

  • Remind them how much they are appreciated.  Especially in these tough times. Last night at SARA, I sang them my fractured semi-autobiographical holiday carol, Deck the Walls with Mashed Potatoes, gave them an excerpt of my first published work, The Christmas Wrap Rap (Plays Magazine), and reminded all of the letter newsman Francis P. Church wrote to a little 8 year old girl named Virginia. The words are just as relevant today, as budgets are frozen and winter darkness surrounds us. And and I've only altered it a bit: 

    "VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
    "115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

    VIRGINIA,

    Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.  Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Librarian. SHe exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Librarians. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. Not believe in Librarians! You might as well not believe in books! Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view thebeauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Books! No Librarians? Thank God! They live, and theylive forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, they will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

 GennJayErinLisLynnKarenBob  Happy Holidays to all.

(Author Brunch: L to R) Gennifer Choldenko, Jay Asher, Erin Dealey, Elissa Haden Guest, Lynn Hazen, Karen Beaumont, and Bob Barner.

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