A Vibrant Author Visit Partnership: Giffen Memorial Elementary School & First Presbyterian Church of Albany
For years, various writing projects brought me to the New York State Museum on Madison Avenue in Albany, New York. Not once had I taken a left-hand turn onto Pearl Street on my way up the hill to the library. If I had, I would have bumped smack into Giffen Memorial Elementary School, a Title 1 school that is the largest in the city. Even still, from the outside, I wouldn’t have known Giffen’s juicy surprise: that it hosts a vibrant annual author visit program through a community partnership initiated by the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, New York.
I found out about this program by accident when Debra Fagans, Chairperson of Author/Illustrator Day, contacted me via email, asking if I’d be willing to promote the event scheduled for April 2015. I said I’d not only promote it, but that I’d love to be a part of it. I was delighted to be included with Katherine Paterson, James Earl Ransome and Lesa Cline-Ransome as a visiting author at their third annual event.
Bottom line: I traveled to Albany, had a blast, and was really impressed with this program. Why?
1. When members of the First Presbyterian Church of Albany saw a need to promote literacy and the love of reading among students in the largest Title 1 school in Albany, NY, they took action to fill that need.
2. The school has embraced the program, and participation continues to grow.
3. This program puts books into the hands of students, promotes book ownership and fosters connections with book creators.
4. This is a program that could be easily replicated in other communities. (For an interview with Debra Fagans that details program specifics, click here.)
Authors and illustrators who have participated in the past included: Sandra and Myles Pinkney, Joseph Bruhac, James Preller, Rose Kent, Matthew McElligott, Bruce Hiscock, Dan Mahoney, Coleen Murtagh Paratore, and Elizabeth Zunon.
Many thanks to my gracious, energetic hosts and all the volunteers at Giffen who made this such an enjoyable experience. Now for some photos . . .
Do know of a successful author / illustrator visit community partnership program? Let me know. I’d love to profile it here.