"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Friday, August 6, 2010


On Tuesday, I went to this year's Camp Read-a-Lot, sponsored by MELSA. They held it at Como Park Lakeside Pavilion in St. Paul. Unfortunately, the weather was really hot and humid, which kept us inside, but other than that, I had a terrific time!


Our opening speaker was Kathleen Baxter, author of many titles about book talking nonfiction to kids, such as Gotcha!: Nonfiction Booktalks to Get Kids Excited About ReadingGotcha Covered!: More Nonfiction Booktalks to Get Kids Excited about Reading, Gotcha for Guys!: Nonfiction Books to Get Boys Excited About Reading and more. She is an exciting speaker, very funny and enthusiastic. She obviously has a handle on what gets kids charged up about nonfiction! Baxter began with a list of "gross" books. You know, scientific or historically based books about bodily functions, icky bugs, toilets or carrion eating animals. That'll grab a boy's (and many girl's) attention! She then continued with a long list of great options of all kinds of nonfiction choices. If you're looking for some excellent book suggestions, check out her work. If you're hunting for a dynamic speaker, she's your woman.

Photo from Kathleen Baxter's website

Find out more about her at her website: Kathleen Baxter .

David LaRochelle, photo from Collecting Children's Books


Our afternoon speaker was David LaRochelle,, author of The Best Pet of All and The End for kids and Absolutely Positively Not for teens. I loved his talk and his sense of humor. He told us about his passions, like entering (and winning) contests and carving pumpkins, and about his road to getting published, accompanied by a funny Power Point presentation. He got us excited about his forthcoming publications 1+1=5: and Other Unlikely Additions and Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet. 1+1=5 has really unexpected ways of getting to 5, such as 1 Bicycle + 1 Trike = 5 (wheels) or 1 set of twins plus 1 group of triplets = 5 (babies). Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet is a really beautiful book, with photos by Joe Rossi, tied nicely together with a poem by LaRochelle. The alphabet is spelled out by forms found in the natural world. I look forward to November, when it is published.

I bought a copy of Absolutely Positively Not and Mr. LaRochelle kindly personalized it for me. He spent plenty of time autographing books for each person, drawing pictures and really making the receivers feel special. Look for him at his website, linked above.

My role as a camp counselor was a breeze, because I had a really insightful and invested group of teachers to work with. I was supposed to lead small group discussion of the core titles that I've been sharing with you over the past months, and also the two books each that we all chose to show the others. That went very well, and as I read the books suggested, maybe I'll write them up here, too.

 I really hope to be a counselor again next year!

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