During the summer we don’t often see organized large groups of kids. Most of the local camps do not organize field trips to the bookstore. But this past Tuesday we were lucky enough to have 22 kids, ranging in age from 5 to 15, come to the store with their teachers. These kids are all New Americans who are in the English Language Learning program, and will be starting the local public school in the fall.
The teachers checked with us before they brought the kids over. I can’t imagine having that many kids show up as a surprise. We were told Tuesday at 10:30. Laura and I were ready. For what, we still didn’t know, but we had had coffee and some snacks and we were upbeat and excited for the kids. At 10:45 the kids still weren’t there, and I checked to make sure I’d gotten the day right when the phone rang. It was Katie, the librarian from across the street, calling to apologize for keeping the kids longer than expected.
It seems the reason for this field trip was to introduce these kids to what’s in the village of Shelburne. I just love that the trip included the bookstore and not just the library. Around 11 the kids arrived. Excited, burbling and remarkably well behaved, they took over the store, most heading for exactly the right sections. Several stayed next to me and we talked about books. One girl, about five, in a blue and silver hijab, came up to me and asked very earnestly for a book. “It’s called Crickets Are Fun! Do you have it?” I did not have it because it does not exist, but now I feel as if it should. We looked at some early readers and found another insect she could read about.
In the span of 15 minutes all 22 kids each got two paperbacks, some needing my help and others not. It was fantastic fun. And what I loved about this school visit was the teachers who wanted to introduce these kids to resources in town. I asked about the funding for this. Mrs. Davenport said they had a government grant for the week-long session and they allocated the lion’s share of the discretionary budget to getting the kids books. Not only did these kids each get two books, they each got a $10 gift card to the store. This last gesture by the teachers was so lovely. They could have stopped at the books, but they wanted to the kids to have a reason to come back to the store. So now 22 kids have brand new Flying Pig gift certificates in their pockets and hopefully they will all use them.
I had so much fun with these students, I wish they could come by every week. But more importantly, I love being part of their community and I’m grateful to Mrs. Davenport for introducing us to such great kids.