Sunday, May 8, 2011

Douglas Wood, Children's Author

One the best traditions at Chets Creek is the Author Visit each spring. I don't know where our Media Specialist KK Cherney finds the funds and the authors, but she always manages to bring the faculty and children a most awesome adventure. How fortunate are the children at Chets Creek to be able to meet an author/ illustrator each year? Douglas Wood is an author with 40 books and also a songwriter. The day started with the faculty meeting for the Principal's Book-of-the-Month. I would think it would be a little intimidating for a principal to read a book in front of the author, but Susan Phillips is a master at reading aloud. I'm sure Douglas Wood enjoyed every moment of hearing someone else read his book! She chose the beautiful The Secret of Saying Thanks. The lyrical text and imagery are a perfect blend for appreciating our beautiful world. This is a book the children will love hearing.

Douglas Wood then entertained each grade level. He told first graders the story of The Rabbit and the Moon which is Native American (Cree) folklore. It will be such a great addition to our Kindergarten Native American collection of books. It's one thing to hear a teacher read a book, but it's something very special to hear an author tell his own story. I once heard Bill Martin, Jr. tell The Ghost-Eye Tree and I will never forget the impression that it made- much like the impression Douglas Wood left on me on Friday! Being a song writer he then taught the children two different songs and answered so many of their questions.

He also told us that he had ADHD and that it was hard for him to think of just one thing at a time. As a result he had ten new books in his mind all the time! He talked about how difficult it was for him to learn to read. Finally a second grade teacher helped him to understand that the squiggles and blots on the page really held a message. He said he didn't learn to read immediately - it took some time - but that teacher made the difference. He wrote that story in Miss Little's Gift.

Douglas Wood's first book was Old Turtle. The books has sold a million copies and won many awards. Douglas Wood told the students that they too, are authors and encouraged them to dream big. He left us with the message that it's good to have dreams, to never give up and to not be afraid to ask for help. What an inspiration!

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