A couple of weeks ago at the International Reading Association's Annual Conference in Minneapolis, I had the great pleasure of presenting with Eileen Spinelli. I know, how lucky am I!!!
The presentation was based on work I did with a second grade teacher, Wendy Melzer, who used author studies to assist students with writing (click on "Golden Threads" to view the PowerPoint). Reading and thinking about Eileen Spinelli's books proved to be a pivitol point in the second graders' understanding of reading like a writer. So, I invited Eileen to present with me and she graciously accepted. I was thrilled!!
She is one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met. The audience of teachers loved her, as you can imagine. I know everyone at the session went back to their classrooms with information and inspiration to share with their students.
Eileen brought several of her newest books to share with the audience. One of the books was an advance reader's copy of Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself by Eileen and her husband Jerry (published by Alfred Knopf, October). When she read from it, I knew I had to have it!
We are all familiar with a "book of days" type calendar that has a famous quote or words of wisdom to help us focus our day. Today I Will is a book of days for children and children's literature lovers. Each entry or day has three parts. The first part is a quote from a children's book, the second part provides a statement that expands or develops the thought expressed in the quote, and the final part is an affirmation--a way to bring the thought expressed in the quote into your day. The following is the entry for May 30:
"Her smile was like a big, warm hug."
--The Day Eddie Met the Author by Louise Borden, Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Sometimes a smile is like other things, too. A cozy blanket. A fond reminder of good times. An affirmation of friendship. Welcome to a stranger. Comfort to the fearful. Or a sign that says I Understand.
Today I will give someone my best smile. I'll aim it at a person who probably doesn't expect it form me. As for the particular effect my smile may produce, I'll leave that up the the target.
What a great idea, right? This little treasure will be one that I buy for all of my friends this Christmas and all of my children's literature students from now on. It won't be released until October, but put it on your wish list now!