Why Author Visits Matter: A Teacher-Librarian’s Love Letter

LoveLetterEnvelopeIt came out of the blue — a love letter in Caroline Arnold’s in-box from a teacher-librarian for an author visit she had done 22 years ago!

The letter knocked my socks off. So, with permission, I’m posting it for you here so you can see for yourself the impact an author visit can have on a whole school and especially on individuals. Thank you, Elizabeth Fisher, LMS!

And here’s a big fat hug to all teachers & librarians like Elizabeth who are dedicated to connecting kids with children’s book authors and illustrators.

(The caps and bolding are Elizabeth’s.)

CarolineArnold-1996TaftSchool,OrangeUSDSun, 10 Jan 2016

Hello Ms. Arnold,
The year was 1994. I was a first-year teacher teaching a combo 5th and 6th grade class at Riverdale Elementary School in Anaheim Hills, CA. The school was in Orange Unified School District. Riverdale Elementary School has since closed.

Our librarian had selected you and then enticed you to come to Riverdale Elementary School to be our Author of the Day. Our entire school was excited to be getting you as our guest.

My students and I researched you. We read every bio we could find about you–normally on the book jackets of your books. We made large posters announcing you would be coming to Riverdale Elementary School. Students made individual posters to place in every classroom. The posters had your picture on it, the books you had written and the date you were coming to our school. Students painted signs welcoming you. They were placed on Riverdale Street for the community to see and they were posted all over our campus. We were excited. YOU were coming to our school!

I purchased every book you had written and my 5th and 6th grade students practiced reading your books. I taught the students how to teach the other classes all about Caroline Arnold the famous author. They learned how read a book to an audience, how to hold the book while reading to students, to share the pictures in the book and to emphasize the words that went with the pictures. Classes (100% of them!) signed up to have my students come to their class to present about you, our visiting author, and to read one of your books to the class.  Riverdale Elementary School was pumped!  Their favorite author was coming to the school and the students couldn’t wait!

Your visit was a HUGE success!  We LOVED, LOVED, LOVED you!

Over the years I have run into teachers and students from Riverdale. Many of them have shared with me the memory of the day of your visit. They remember preparing for your visit and then getting to sit close to you as you read your own book to us.

Such a thrill it was to have your visit back in 1994 and to see it still has an impact on their lives today.  Oh, the power of a well-written book is there, but even more so, the power of an author who takes the time to visit schools!  You are amazing!

Elizabeth Fisher, Library Media Specialist
Canyon High School
Anaheim, CA


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