It's only a little bit sunny out today in Montreal, but the day was sunshiny for me since I spent most of it at an elementary school called Sunshine Academy in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
I worked with three classes: Mrs. Pedicelli's Grade 4's; Mrs. Petosa's Grade 3's; and Miss Boulos's Grade 5's (though Miss Boulos was absent and Miss Kouri was in charge instead). My visit was organized by librarian extraordinaire Miss Susan.
You know how I'm always telling everyone to be OBSERVANT? Well, I made an interesting observation of my own in Mrs. Pedicelli's class. I noticed that a boy named Dylan keeps a packet of ketchup in his pencil case. (In my time, I have snoop-ily inspected the insides of many pencil cases, but this was the first time I spotted ketchup!!) Then I uncovered an interesting story: many of the kids in the class keep ketchup packets in their pencil cases. Dylan says he likes to throw his up in the air and catch it; Kelly likes to smear ketchup on her finger and pretend it's blood. I think a story about kids and ketchup could be fun!
I told Mrs. Petosa's class that, like the Inuit students I have met in my travels to Nunavik, I am also a hunter. Then I asked Mrs. Petosa's students what they think I hunt for. The answer I had in mind was STORIES. Only a student named Julien came up with another very good answer: WORDS. You're quite right, Julien, we writers (and by that I mean every one of us who does any kind of writing, so that includes students, too!) need to HUNT for the RIGHT WORDS!
The Grade 5 gang really responded well when I read them some bits of my books Home Invasion and What World Is Left. I was inspired to read from What World Is Left (a novel about the Holocaust and based on my own mum's experience during World War II) because I noticed several posters on the wall about Anne Frank. (Did I ever tell you my mum knew Anne Frank? They attended the same school in Amsterdam and were in the same grade.) When I told the Grade 5's that I write every single day, a student named Adrian told us he's as serious about swimming as I am about writing. Even in winter, Adrian swims five times a week.
So here's to Sunshine (both the school and in our sky!) and to dedication to things we love to do.
I'll be back again at Sunshine Academy on March 18. I'll make sure to stay through lunch in case any of you students at Sunshine want to show me the stories you're working on. Have a great weekend wherever you are!
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I am a student in Mrs.Boulos's class I cannot wait wait until you come back on March 18th! I think everyone in my class thought you are the best! I think that's funny that the grade 4's keep ketchup in their pencil cases and your mom attending the same school as Anne Frank blew my mind!I can't wait until you visit next I am going to start a daily journal too! At the the library I am taking out all your books!
Hello this is adrian remember for grade 5? anyways your visit was awesome and i was really happy when i saw my name on your blog! i was amazed. so i hope you come back to visit. plus i really want to read 121 express i find it is going to be awesome. hope to see you soon bye!
letter by: adrian
Hi Kayla and Adrian, Thanks a lot for your messages. I always feel good when I get comments on this blog. It makes me feel like I am not just writing to the wind! Kayla, that is cool about your step-mom. I look forward to hearing more about that story! Adrian, of course I remember you! Glad you are looking forward to reading 121 Express!