Meeting Authors, Making Connections

In partnership with the Young Readers Center in the Library of Congress, Everybody Wins DC provides a unique StoryTime program to enrich literacy and learning experiences for DCPS students in Title I elementary schools. The program regularly brings students to the Young Readers Center to spend time with authors who introduce students to their books and share personal stories about their lives and careers.

Last month, third and fourth graders from Plummer Elementary School were mesmerized by Emily Williamson, author of Gizo Gizo: A Tale from the Zongo Lagoon, as she read her story about a group of animals trying to protect the waterways of the Zongo Lagoon from mining operations. Using traditional Ghanaian-Hausan culture storytelling traditions, Ms. Williamson captivated the audience with her words and pictures. Students learned the traditional Hausa storyteller’s greeting “Ga ta nan ga ta nanku!” “I am about to begin!” and the children response, “Tazo Mujita!” “We are all ears!” They also learned about the Ms. Williamson’s writing and illustrating processes that heavily featured images and words from her students in Ghana. At the event, Plummer students created their own images, based on the book’s characters, which Ms. Williamson promised to take back with her to Ghana and share with her co-writer students. Each child happily received an autographed copy of Gizo Gizo to take home and share with their families.

Second graders from Cleveland Elementary School, were thoroughly engaged by Jeanne Walker Harvey’s thoughtful and participatory discussion of her career as a writer and by the subject of her delightful book, Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Line. A slide-show and reading of the book helped students learn more about the young Maya Lin, who explored art and architecture from a very early age.   And students gained an appreciation for the research and time that a writer of biographies for young readers must devote to learning about a subject in order to create a book that is both informative and interesting.  A special bonus for the group was the presence of the Library of Congress’ framed image of Ms. Lin’s original submission for the Vietnam Memorial design. Students responded enthusiastically to Ms. Harvey’s questions about their own career dreams and interests in learning about new people.  They were also thrilled to have a signed copy of the book to take home with them for their personal library.