Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Want S'More?

Recently I attended an author visit at our local independent bookstore, Yellow Book Road. Helen Foster James was doing a talk about her book, S is for S’Mores, illustrated by Lita Judge. Just like any teacher or librarian, Helen welcomed children and parents as they entered and began by introducing herself and her book. Immediately she drew the children in and managed behavior with a trick of her hand.

Helen talked about camping and what you might need when you camp. Then she read from her book, which is a rhyming alphabet book about camping. It can also be used as a picture book for older readers, as each page also has a sidebar of more information on the topical letter. The illustrations are beautiful. Be sure you check out Lita's books too. She's writing her own books and illustrating them too.

G is for the Gear you’ll need
To organize and pack
To keep your camping full of fun
And bring you safely back.

Then she brought out a plastic container and took the lid off with a penny. Kids guessed about what its’ use might be. She said, “What do you think you might put in here?” One kid said, “a gun.” Well, probably not. In the end, we learned that it was for keeping food away from bears. She told us that we need to be careful when we are camping so that bears can’t get our food. How will they feed themselves from nature if they learn that they like Snickers bars better?

A is for adventure.
Let’s camp from A to Z.
On mountains and deserts or beaches,
If you want to have fun, follow me!

The author told us that the last line of the A page came from something her friend used to say when she was a little girl. One of the best things about going to an event like this is that you learn about where stories come from. You learn that authors are real people too. Certainly Helen Foster James is joy to listen to. Her final triumph was a folding paper story. Children were mesmerized and of course, wanted to learn to fold and tell as well.

The best thing is that this event was free. Check out your local children’s book store. Are you on their email list? Make time to visit the store. Listen to an author. Browse the shelf. Take home a few unexpected treasures. (Who can leave a bookstore without buying something??) What do you know? Sometimes you might even get to eat a S’more.

Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Amos who?
A mosquito bit me.

Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Andy who?
Andy bit me again.

Knock Knock.
Who’s there.
Betty who?
(Smack your arm.) Bet he won’t do that again.

May all your camping adventures be fun- and bug free.

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