At a staff meeting early this year, we were brainstorming event ideas. One of our staff members, Juanita (aka JP), suggested enhancing our weekly Wednesday morning story hours with one special visit from a Vermont picture book author or illustrator each month. What a simple, brilliant suggestion! Usually, picture book events take place on Saturday mornings, and while that is a wonderful time to have them, taking advantage of our built-in story hour crowd also makes so much sense, I can’t believe we didn’t think of it earlier. Go, JP!
Our first Souped-Up Story Hour, back in February, featured Liza Woodruff (illustrator of Kim Norman’s Ten on the Sled and Todd Tarpley’s How About a Kiss for Me?, among others). Josie blogged about her visit here in a post on local partnerships.
In March, we hosted Amy Huntington, illustrator of Katie Clark’s Grandma Drove the Garbage Truck and Grandma Drove the Snowplow (Grandma Drove the Lobster Boat comes out in June), and several other fun books. (Sadly, we couldn’t blog about that event because I was out of town and Josie was handling some bookstore crisis downstairs, but everyone raved about it!)
April’s special guest was Leda Schubert, a quadruple threat of a children’s book author with her background as a former school teacher, librarian, school library consultant for the Vermont Department of Education for 17 years, and current role as Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty member in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Whew!
I met Leda years ago on Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award committee for children’s literature. She was a permanent founding member, and I served on the committee for six years. I was bowled over by Leda’s knowledge about books, deep and wonderful sense of humor, passion for accuracy and citation in nonfiction for children, and abiding love of dogs. Leda was also responsible for letting me know about the Vermont College program, which changed my writing life forever. We were in the same class together as students back in the day.
So you can imagine that it’s always a treat for me to see Leda, and a special joy to hear her read her books to children. Because of her vast experience with kids and books, she has an unerring sense of what they will enjoy in a story, and how to talk to a room full of bright, funny preschoolers.
It’s been a wonderful series so far. May’s Souped-Up Story Hour Guest is Tracey Campbell Pearson, and you’ll be hearing about her visit in a future blog post!