Kansas authors stir up excitement at grade school
(Friday, April 1, 2016)
(Updated April 8, 2016)
(Article by Nicole Gerber, 21st Century Journalism student / Photos by Sami Fischer)
The Silver Lake Grade School students in grades K-6 have been buzzing with anticipation, awaiting the visits of native Kansas authors Shelly Simoneau and Jefferson Knapp.
At 1:20 pm on April 1, grades 3-6 had the opportunity to meet Knapp. At 9 a.m. today, grades K-2 met Simoneau.
Mary LaMar, district librarian, stated that this is the first time events like this have happened at the Silver Lake schools.
“This is my 25th year here, and in all the time I’ve been here, even before I was elementary librarian, we’ve never had an author come in that I know of,” she said.
LaMar said to get the kids prepared to appreciate what the authors had to say, teachers did classroom activities and art projects that paralleled characters and lessons in the stories.
“They’re doing different art projects about different pieces in each story. Kindergarteners are drawing characters. We’re going to do a big mural, almost like a timeline of the stories. We’re making a cave so that when he [Knapp] comes in that day, he can walk through it, because that’s part of his story. For Simoneau, the little kids are doing pictures and things like that,” LaMar said.
LaMar also had copies of all stories by these authors in the library. Knapp’s series includes four books. “The Brave Journey,” “The Rightful Heir,” The Ending Fued,” and “The Traveling Carnival” can all be found in the grade school library.
The same is true for Simoneau.
“Shelly has six books, so we have a copy of each in the library, and each grade level has their own set. We want the kids to feel like they know the author when he/she gets here,” LaMar stated.
The six books in the library include: “The Cows Came Running and the Horses Did Too!,” “Wash Creek,” “Daddy Was a Carpenter,” “Snake Tree,” “Grasshopper Bubblegum,” and “Tinker in the Tanker.” Simoneau is currently working on another book entitled, “Momma Said Lasagna,” which she referenced in her presentation.
In her books, Simoneau said she recounts memories of growing up in Kansas and what fun it was.
“It’s difficult to choose just one childhood memory as a favorite. All memories carry their own special significance and connection to the present,” Simoneau said.
Along with being an author, Simoneau is also an early childhood/elementary teacher in Kansas. The author stated that Kansas is home, which is why she continues to teach and do appearances regarding her books in Kansas.
“Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home!” Simoneau said.
In fact, Simoneau’s interest in becoming a children’s author started when she was just a child.
“My interest in becoming a children’s author bloomed when the stories I told in the classroom found their way out into communities! I began telling my stories at public libraries and community events. Upon audience request I wrote my first book, ‘The Cows Came Running and the Horses Did Too!’ in 2010,” Simoneau stated.
Simoneau encouraged kids to pursue their interests and follow their dreams.
“Take time to reflect every day. In our busy world it is hard to be still and explore thoughts and connections. Don’t miss out on the simple significant moments. Every day holds a story. Share the stories!” Simoneau said.