Last week was Book Week at Allen-Stevenson, where the A-S community celebrated books and the joy they bring us. The week was full of book-related trivia, activities and celebrations, all focused on the core idea that the value of reading goes beyond a school assignment, but personal enrichment.
On Monday we kicked off the week with All School D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read), a 30-minute long dedicated time in the morning for the whole Allen-Stevenson community to read. The school was silent, while teachers and students were devouring the reading material of their choice. Some read novels, some graphic novels, and a few people were even reading the morning newspaper. The goal? To show the boys that we all place a high value on reading.
Every lunch time there were no fewer than four competitions, targeted at different age groups, in which the boys were challenged to guess which book a quotation was taken from. The prize? The winners got to choose a book!
On Tuesday, middle grade author Dan Gemeinhart talked about his work with our Middle School boys. His main theme was turning dreams into goals and never giving up. He received 99 rejection letters before his first novel was accepted for publication! Fifth grade boys, so many of whom are big fans of the author, got to spend an hour working through the first steps of crafting a story: coming up with an idea, characters, and plot. Dan also had lunch with some boys, took selfies with them, and signed their photos, much to their delight.
On Wednesday, our community was fortunate enough to be visited by two authors. Picture book author Lisa Wheeler gave our Lower School boys presentations about how she gets started writing her books, and why she loves this creative outlet so much. Ellen Oh, co-founder of We Need Diverse Books, an organization that pushes for more diversity and representation in children’s literature, spoke to our Upper School boys about being an author, the We Need Diverse Books program, and answered all questions they had regarding how she got started in writing. Ms. Oh also presented at our faculty meeting that day on the importance of diversity in children's literature.
On Friday, to close out Book Week, our Mystery Reader, a mysterious voice who read famous quotes over our intercom, was revealed to be our very own Lower School Spanish Teacher Jesús Parra!
“Book Week isn’t just about getting our boys to read,” says Library Tech Commons Director Sarah Kresberg. “It’s also about teaching children that reading is so special that it should be celebrated as well as showing them a possible career path as a writer, illustrator, editor, publisher or even activist. Whether they are reading graphic novels, listening to audiobooks, or reading novels or nonfiction, everyone can gains tremendously when diving head first into a good book.”
Book Week is a special time at Allen-Stevenson. Students find a new passion for reading, discover new authors, and revisit old favorites. We can’t wait until next year.