November 19, 2008

Anancy @ Miami Book Fair International

Geoffrey PhilpLast week, as part of the Miami Book Fair International's Student Literary Encounters, I had the privilege of reading at these four schools: Howard Doolin Middle, Jorge Mas Canosa Middle, Bob Graham K-8, and Miami Lakes K-8.

I've never felt more useful in my life!

The students, faculty, media specialists, and staff of Dade County Public Schools made me feel right at home, and I must congratulate them for their courage. For in this FCAT driven climate, it's quite easy to give in to a test driven curriculum and teach only to the test. Instead, these teachers and administrators welcomed me into their schools and exposed the children to a little extra learning--which is always a sign of a healthy academic environment.

And what can I say about the students? They were attentive and asked me some really tough questions. I mean it. Some of them had already read through the book and at Miami Lakes K-8, they came prepared with questions that they'd written on index cards. They delved deep into my past and asked questions about bullying at Jamaica College, the themes in Grandpa Sydney's Anancy Stories, and the differences between writing a children's book and my other books. And those were the easier questions!

At all the schools I visited, I could tell that the teachers and media specialists had done their homework. They provided the students with my bio, a list of my books, links from Wikipedia, and at all four schools, they had bookmarked my blog. Talk about making me feel special. Thank you!

Finally, I'd also like to Roberta Kaiser and her staff from Dade County Public Schools, who arranged for me to visit the schools. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of Alina Interian of the Florida Center for Literary Arts and Penny Thurer of the Miami Book Fair International, who have been a blessing for the past twenty-five years. Give thanks!


For more photos of this event, please follow this link: Anancy @ Miami Book Fair International

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