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November 9, 2018

By Kevin Ko-wen Chen, Communications Manager

On Monday, November 19, every student at Fieldston Lower will browse tables upon tables of children’s books that have been set up in the gym, looking for the newest addition to their home library. The annual Celebration of Books is back, with hundreds of titles on sale.

More than just a book fair, the Celebration of Books ties into the learning that goes on across our curriculum. Throughout the month, authors have been invited to visit and share their stories with our elementary students. Third graders — whose yearlong Native American unit forms the core of their social studies curriculum — met Joseph Bruchac, a Native American author who taught them phrases in the Abenaki language. Kindergarteners — who are learning to craft stories with a beginning, middle, and end — heard from Tad Hills, the writer and illustrator of the popular “Duck and Goose” series. For Laura Feinberg-Smith’s Kindergarten students, who are collectively making a book about Riverdale Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood, the opportunity to watch Mr. Hills conceive of his stories and draw his characters was a source of inspiration.

Children have an innate sense of curiosity.

More broadly, the authors who come to ECFS are gifted storytellers who help students develop as speakers and thinkers. In second grade, where teachers Monique Astengo-Rosen and Sari Givner limit the use of technology, author Richard Lewis looked to nature for material, using a leaf and a chestnut as the basis for the stories he told the class. “Children have an innate sense of curiosity,” says Sari. “He taps into a creativity that they don’t even know is there.”

The Celebration of Books aims to unleash that creativity by surrounding students with titles that are both developmentally appropriate and engaging. Some are childhood favorites that our principal, faculty, and staff continue to enjoy and share with our budding readers today.

A love of books that transcends age or experience — that’s something truly worth celebrating.