Engaging Families for Student Success

Bringing Stories to Life: Author Visits in Ward 8

February 10, 2015

Do you remember your favorite children’s book? What question would you ask the author of that book, if you had the chance? Twice a year, families at Turning the Page partner schools get to find out!

author talking good lighting

On a blustery evening in November, author and self-proclaimed “pop culture archeologist” Marc Tyler Nobleman arrived to meet parents and students at Kramer Middle School. Mr. Nobleman led his talk as if he was telling a detective story. Slide by slide, he revealed how he tracked down the information to write his two graphic-novel style books about the creators of Superman and Batman, Boys of Steel and Bill the Boy Wonder. His research brought the stories of Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Bill Finger to life in the Kramer classroom, honoring creative masterminds who, in Mr. Nobleman’s view, have not received the credit from history they deserve for their ideas that have shaped generations of pop culture. Antendees were amazed to learn that Mr. Nobleman’s painstaking investigative journalism actually led him to discover an unknown heir of Bill Finger, one of the creators of Batman, who is now receiving money from DC Comics for her grandfather’s work. Kramer families  were so curious and excited about Mr. Nobleman’s tale that they could hardly contain their questions until the end. It was an inspiring presentation that touched on creativity, ownership of ideas, copyright, and the importance of perseverance and story-telling to shape and correct history. At the end of the night, everyone had the chance to choose which book they wanted to get signed by Mr. Nobleman and take home for their very own! A few students asked for pictures with the author. Mr. Nobleman’s author visit was an important step in reaching a new and wider sector of the Kramer community, from teachers to students and parents to other partner organizations. For many Kramer families and teachers, this was their first-ever Community Night. “When’s the next one?” they asked me on their way out. “I’m gonna write a book like that about the Green Lantern.” “See you soon!”

author with Kramer student

One of our longest traditions at Turning the Page is bringing stories alive at our partner schools. Twice a year, we dedicate a Community Night at each TTP school to a visit from a children’s author. Spirinneliphank As they did at Kramer, parents, students, teachers, mentors, and staff gather around during the author’s presentation, which often involves a dramatic reading of one of their recent books and always includes lots of question and answer time about the story and working as an author. Betlemska kaple At Elementary schools, we also make sure that the parents get a chance to have their own Q&A with the author, a unique opportunity for parents as well as many writers.  Parents seize the chance to ask the authors about everything from age-appropriate book recommendations for their kids, to advice on how to publish work of their own.

Each author visit takes on a life of its own, but they are always fascinating and festive gatherings to share ideas, dreams, and, most importantly, stories.

Special thanks to The Children’s Book Guild, and our visiting authors from the Fall series: Marc Tyler Nobleman, Carole Geithner, Erica Perl, Andrea Menotti, and Mubina Kirmani!