I was invited by Kristin, the daughter of my childhood classmate and lifelong friend to be a Guest Reader for Kapolei Elementary's "Anytime is Book Time" Read Aloud Program. I have to confess to a bit of trepidation about standing in front of a class of high energy 2nd graders after five years of retirement from teaching.
I told them that Ms. Kristin's mom and I were friends for 55 years even though we had been separated for 35 years when I lived in Illinois and that letters kept our friendship strong. They got a kick out of seeing an old class photo of my elementary school days with Ms. Kristin's mom. This brought me to my first book, The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters by Janet & Allan Ahlberg which sparked their interest at first but did not hold the attention of the few wigglers in the group. It required a bit of teacher type reminders to keep it going.
Then I brought up Africa. I discussed not mistaking Africa as a country instead of a continent. I explained that there are now 53 countries in Africa including Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Mali, etc.
I showed them photos of Mali that my son took when he was assigned there by the Peace Corps. Suddenly, I saw light bulbs go on in everybody's eyes. Africa is still such a wonderfully exotic place for children.
This was the introduction to Why the Sun Was Late by Benjamin Elkin and illustrated by Jerome Snyder which they enjoyed very much.
After the reading, all the guest readers went back to the school library. The refreshments were not the usual mainland type cookies and punch. There were noodles, banana bread, pound cake, gyoza, sweet and sour chicken, pork buns, pineapples, strawberries, and I forget what else.
This Read Aloud program was really well organized. Some of the readers were district heads, representatives from banks and other establishments in the area, our Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, police officers, retired teachers, soldiers, and authors.
One of the authors I met while having refreshments was James Rumford. Some of the books he's written are When Silver Needles Swam, the Story of Tutu's Quilt, The Island Below the Star, Dogs of the Sea Waves, etc. James is on the right side of the photo. Greg from Central Pacific Bank is on the left. It was fascinating to hear about the trials of getting your book published. I wish I could have spent more time talking to them and everyone around me but my ride was waiting in the parking lot.
Well, the Read Aloud was a wonderful distraction from my scanning project but I'll have to get back to that now. Forgive me if my blogging becomes sporadic for a while. Does anybody have a good free template for documenting a family tree?