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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Impact of teachers

October 14, 2011

Like most of us, I enjoy parties. And outdoor parties on glorious sunny days are among the best.

It was on just such a gorgeous day that, with young friend and his mom, I attended a book party to celebrate the publication of Katy Kelly's newest Melonhead (Delacorte) adventure. (To fully appreciate Adam Melon, you'll just have to read these engaging books — ideal for reading aloud to 6-8 year olds, by the way.)

The party was impressive for a number of reasons. What a pleasure to see young booklovers who had already met Melonhead (like my 8 year old friend) but were anxious to talk to the author and have her sign the newest installment. There were lots of adults to support the author — many authors themselves but all readers of children's books.

And there were people who had had a significant impact on the author — including Katy's first grade teacher.

How many adults can say that they remember their first grade teacher? Maybe many of us but how many of us have stayed in touch with that teacher?

Isn't it neat that the now-retired teacher and her former student have remained in touch and were able to share the joy of a book being published. What an elegant, articulate woman, too — the consummate professional!

I overhead the teacher talking to a small group of children about what it was like in the "olden" days in D.C. (the kids' term), patiently explaining what had changed and what remained. From the conversation I listened to, that woman must have been something in the classroom in the way she engaged the children and shared both information and experience. She's still teaching, I suppose.

Just goes to show that one teacher can have a lifetime influence.

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx