Henry Ford’s quote “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” fit this endeavor perfectly!
Collaboration among three District 204 school librarians enabled us to bring the talented author, illustrator, cartoonist, and musician Mike Artell all the way from Louisiana to visit our students in Illinois. None of the schools could afford to bring in Mike alone, but sharing the presentation, travel, and housing costs made the visit possible. Mike, author of more than 35 books, writes both non-fiction and fiction. His non-fiction books cover topics from cartooning tips, weather and space, to jokes and sports. His fiction writing includes a Cajun spin on classic fairy tales including his book, Petitie Rouge – A Cajun Red Riding Hood which was named the 2009 Read Aloud Book of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Mike’s energetic and enthusiastic style fit well with large groups and he intrigued students with stories about his life, word play from his joke books, a reading from Cajun tales, and step-by-step cartooning instructions so that our students could draw with him during the presentation. Students were engaged as he gave advice on how to “draw what you see not what you know.” He also encouraged the students to “read like you eat” and give all different types of books a “taste”.
Artell ended the presentation with one of his songs and had all the students and teachers sing along.
Our librarian team divided and conquered other aspects of the prep for the visit–some provided lunch, others worked out the transportation and housing details, and another contacted the district to share with the education reporters. Rather than each of us creating separate presentations for our students, we were able to create and share it via Google Slides.
Collaborating on this visit has percolated new ideas for creative ways to resource share within District 204 because working together really is a success.