OUR STORIES, a new tradition at David Harrison Elementary School

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I loved every minute of my time at David Harrison Elementary School. Superintendent of Schools, GRANITA LATHAN was there and gave out packets of free books to every child. I learned later that she has done that for every 1st – 5th grade student in the entire district!

I was given a seat of honor at the front of the gymnasium where I could wave at the kids as they came in. I was then presented with two books, one made by each of the 4th grade classes and their teachers, JAMIE BAUMANN and SHANNON BOSSING plus the super talent of art teacher KEVIN ZIMMERMAN.

Each book, titled, Our Stories, is a compilation of information (plus picture) of every graduating 4th grade student at Harrison, the first editions of what is going to become an annual tradition. The books are dedicated to me. Another one of those moments at Harrison that stick in my heart.

Here I am reading one of the books as Dr. Lathan reads the other book.

This picture is of librarian (and mastermind of the books), ANGELA KNIGHT, with principal SHAWN DEWITT and superintendent Lathan. I’m holding a cuddly version of a huskie, the school mascot.

Harrison’s wonderful principal, Shawn DeWitt, invited me to be there on August 22 for the first day of school this fall. I’ll be sitting outside the front door to welcome each student to David Harrison Elementary School. All I can say is, WOW!

Poems from Harrison Elementary students

Hi everyone,

Imagine my delight when students at Harrison not only took a Story Walk on campus (created from my book, I WANT AN APPLE), thanks to super-librarian ANGELA KNIGHT,

but afterward wrote hundreds of acrostic poems about spring and sent them to me. Those kids never cease to thrill me. Here’s my thank-you poem to them.

Dear Students at David Harrison Elementary School,

Sure do love you, one and all,
Poets with the right stuff,
Readers down each Harrison hall,
It’s Harrison Huskies – Ruff! Ruff!
Notes from you? I had a ball!
Grateful? I can’t say enough.

Your loving friend,
David Harrison

Back at it

Hi everyone,

Home again. It was lovely spending the past seven weeks in Florida, but sooner or later one has to come home. We arrived late last night, read through a basket of accumulated mail, and tumbled into bed. Today it’s back to reality, as in bill paying, making appointments, etc.

The big hit in the mail for me was a packet of sweet notes from students at DAVID HARRISON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. After they took their story walk, featuring I WANT AN APPLE — thanks to fantastic librarian ANGELA KNIGHT — they went to their rooms and wrote to me. I can’t wait to read each one.

I also caught up with an interview article in SPRINGFIELD BUSINESS JOURNAL, written by KAREN CRAIGO about three local authors, NANCY ALLEN, SUSAN KEENE, and me. Nicely done and I am flattered to be in the Journal.

One meeting this week is with the team who will join me at The Library Center on April 19 to present a program called Night Sounds. The two pictures below are from a previous program at The Library Center. The folks there are wonderful to work with. Here’s how the upcoming event is describes.

Showing how frogs hop.

You sort of had to be there.

On warm summer nights, if we step outside we may hear a symphony of sounds — whistles, whirs, clicks and cries. What makes these voices we hear in the night? Bestselling author David Harrison, our friends from the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, students from Springfield Public Schools WOLF program, and students from David Harrison Elementary School will explore these sounds and the creatures that make them. Kids will learn facts about local nocturnal animals, enjoy stories and poems and even get to make some night sounds themselves!

A great birthday present!

Hi everyone,

My librarian friend at David Harrison Elementary School, ANGELA KNIGHT, took a recent book of mine, I WANT AN APPLE, and used it for a Story Walk along a sidewalk at the school. I loved it! Here are some pictures she sent that include some of my titles in the library and also the kids writing birthday notes to send me. They (the notes!) will be waiting when I get home. Can’t wait!

A poem per week

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I received a note from ANGELA KNIGHT, librarian at David Harrison Elementary School and a good friend of mine. She told me that from the first of the year she has been reading one of my poems to the student body each week. I didn’t know that and was delighted by her news.

We started with Somebody Catch My Homework,” she told me, “and will move to The Mouse Was Out At Recess.  My goal is to have 25 poems read by the end of May, and if we multiply that by the number of students…that would be over 8,000 poetry exposures since January 1st.” 

I plan to talk to Angela soon to ask if she knows of other schools in the district with similar programs of reading a poem each week to their student bodies. Not my poems, although that would be great fun. Just a poem selected from the vast resources of work published by poems around the world, past and present. Wouldn’t that be nice? Son Jeff urged me to pursue the idea as a new project. He may be right. I’ll let you know what I learn. Meanwhile, you can tell me if you know about programs like this in your areas.