>A guest post from Sue!
Back in September, I was trolling emails on my favorite listserv discussion source of teen books, Adbooks (you too can sign up here) when I saw this email from author Arthur Slade: Arthur Slade will be giving free “Hunchback Assignments“, half hour visits using Skype or iChat. These visits include a presentation on the series, discussion of Victorian history, how to write, and time for Q&A and prizes for the winning classrooms.
Prizes? Author visit? I hit reply, and within 20 minutes I’d heard from my new best friend Art that I’d won. Joy oh bliss. Of course, MVLS doesn’t have a local kid audience available, so I asked member library teen core staff if anyone would be interested in receiving our prize. Two replied immediately, I checked with Art, and he graciously said he’d conduct two virtual visits for us.
Not only that, but he also explained how our libraries could take part in virtual visits using Skype.
Our First Assignment on the Hunchback Worldwide Virtual Tour (his Stop #3) was in Canajoharie. Leah LaFera, intrepid librarian, arranged for the Canajoharie School’s 5th grade class to have the Arthur Slade Virtual Chat on Friday, November 20 (read the news here). Leah reported “Our students were excited and looking forward to Arthur’s visit. The students were thrilled to meet such a cool author and they got to be on video (a big deal for them.) Many students had prepared questions ahead of time and Art enthusiastically answered all of them with equal attention.“ Afterward, Art reported on the event on his blog.
Assignment Number Two brought the Hunchback Worldwide Virtual Tour to the Woodlawn School in Schenectady December 7, 2 p.m., through the efforts of Kaela Wallman, librarian at the Woodlawn Branch of the Schenectady County Public Library. Kaela said “The 6th graders were prepared with great questions and even some brave students came up with questions on the spot. I was impressed with their behavior, interest and insight.” The temperature was 30 degrees in Schenectady, it was 40 degree below zero in Saskatchewan. Did it matter?? No, because Art and all the students were warmly situated in front of webcams in their separate countries, on different sides of the North American continent.
Thank you Art! for making author visits possible through our public libraries. Thank you Leah and Kaela! for pioneering virtual author chats in your libraries. Now that the ground is broken and I’m an expert, let’s bring more authors to kids this way. As I find opportunities, I’ll be (virtually) knocking at your doors.