Jordan Funke & Eliot Schrefer
On September 2oth, New York Time’s bestselling author and two-time finalist for the National Book Award in Young People's Literature, Eliot Schrefer, visited Baird Middle School to discuss his latest book in the Ape Quartet: Rescued.
Jordan Funke, BMS Librarian, explained that this event was the culmination of all the summer reading activities, which asked students to read one of Schrefer’s books and write five questions they would like to ask the author. Funke also wanted to extend many thanks to The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA, who generously sponsored the author event.
Funke explained that thirty 8th grade students were involved in planning the event. They designed and put up decorations specific to the books; selected the best student-submitted questions, then facilitated the question and answer periods after the presentations. They also facilitated a game of pin the monkey on the jungle created by BMS art teacher Mr. Robert Nummy.
Schrefer particularly appreciated the student-made memorial to Harambe, the gorilla who was killed after a child fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. It sparked great discussions about the value of human and animal lives.
Students enjoyed hearing about Schrefer’s travel to the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the research required to write a book with so much science and political conflict.
This visit exemplified Funke’s dedication and enthusiasm for exposing students to a variety of experiences that promote a love of reading and learning. Providing the all-important human connection with an author and giving students the opportunity to hear first hand about what inspires a book, what the author's writing process is like, and what challenges the author faces, is something she is passionate about sharing with students.
Reflecting on the visit and the positive response from student, BMS Principal, Mrs. Stacy Monette, commneted, "Baird students are very lucky to have such a committed librarian who organized this author visit. Mr. Schrefer captured the middle schoolers with not only his experience in writing his books, but also in sharing his travels and information that he learned along the way. He managed to link many subject areas into one presentation. We were honored to have him join us for the day"
All in attendance would agree that Schrefer’s visit proved to be both a meaningful and purposeful learning experience for all involved. To learn more about Schrefer and his books you can visit his website by clicking here.
Photo Credits: Jordan Funke