This week I had the great privilege and pleasure to do a multi-day school visit at Oliver Ellsworth School in Windsor, CT. I've done hundreds of school visits over the last 14 years, and I've never seen a school that was so enthusiastic or well-prepared. Led by uber-amazing teacher-librarian Laura LaBelle the staff had worked tirelessly to introduce my books to the students and to get them excited about my time at the school. They had used the materials on my website and done all kinds of projects.
I always say I can tell how a visit will go from the moment I enter the school, and Oliver Ellsworth proved my theory once again. The minute I opened the door, a child looked up at me and said, "Hello, Melissa Stewart." Clearly, he had seen my photo and recognized me. Then he said, "You have no idea how much I've been waiting for this day." I knew what prompted his words as I walked down the hall--there was a giant count down to my visit. Each poster had fun facts about me and my books. Wow!
When I walked into the school library, I was blown away. Art teacher Heather Sloan had painted a series of giant panels to represent the four different habitats in my book When Rain Falls.
They were soooo beautiful! The students stood in front of them as they performed a Readers Theater base on the book. And they were my backdrop, too, as I talked about the process of making the book.
One evening, I did a family program packed with fun frog-related activities. Here are two girls demonstrating how frogs catch their prey using party blowers tipped with Velcro.
I'm so glad I have these photos to remember my time in Windsor, CT. When my camera battery died, staff members graciously took more than 100 photos and let me choose my favorites.
Thanks to the generosity of the PTO and the hard work of Amanda Racht, every child at the school went home with a copy of one of my books. Plus each classroom received a book as well.
Oliver Ellsworth School is definitely a school that knows how to love and spoil its visiting authors! I'm so grateful to the students, teachers, staff, and administration for all the hard work they put into planning and coordinating my visit.