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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.

Authors are real!

March 29, 2012

When I was growing up, I thought that all authors had to be dead and gone to have a book published. That misconception has quite happily been dispelled. I've even gotten to know some published authors, all of them quite alive and well. Many of these authors enjoy hearing from their readers.

One kindergarten class recently read books by Kevin Henkes and learned more about him. I'm sure that these children and their creative teacher discovered that Kevin won the Caldecott for Kitten's First Full Moon; that it looks different than his other books like Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse or even his newest, Penny and Her Song (all Greenwillow) — and lots more.

Their teacher, Laura Caplan, keeps parents informed of classroom activities through regular correspondence.

Here, Ms. Caplan shares one of the "Bright Spots:"

"Earlier in the year, we did an author study of Kevin Henkes and learned about his writing and artistic style. During our exploration of cities, our class created our own city, Gan Shemeshville. The class did research in Dupont Circle and saw that there are statues of important people located in roundabouts. As a result, the class decided to create a statue of Kevin Henkes in a roundabout in Gan Shemeshville. The class insisted that we write him a letter to inform him of our work and show him a picture of his statue. A week later, we received a personalized thank you letter from Kevin Henkes and a signed copy of his newest book that wasn't published until days after he sent it to us in the mail. This has been a thrilling experience for our class to reach out to a beloved author and hear that he appreciates our hard work."

Because of the thoughtfulness, creativity and concern of an inspired early childhood educator and a remarkable author, a group of kindergarten children are on the road to becoming lifelong readers and writers. That's something to celebrate.

My guess is that the children's statue of Kevin Henkes will be put in a place of honor — Ms. Caplan was going to the post office today to mail it; maybe next to his Caldecott Medal.


My grandson is one of those lucky kids in Ms Caplan's class and he truly does love reading

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"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney