On May 8, the library welcomed our third author of the year. Brandy Colbert who wrote The Only Black Girls in Town and many other books, visited the fifth grade via Zoom. The Only Black Girls in Town was a Saint Ann’s Mock Newbery finalist this year, and was read aloud to every fifth grade library class, so students arrived with excitement and with questions. Colbert showed images from books she wrote in elementary school and shared which of her favorite reads from childhood hold up today (Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary: still great!). Colbert talked about the importance of seeing yourself reflected in literature and answered questions about topics ranging from ice cream flavors to Black Lives Matter. A wonderful visit!
On April 7, a Zoom room full of cheering fourth and fifth graders welcomed Jerry Craft, author of the graphic novels New Kid and Class Act, for a virtual visit to the Annie Bosworth Library. As a full-division activity, the entire group had read New Kid, which last year became the first graphic novel ever to win the prestigious Newbery Medal. Students kept the author overtime with accolades, questions, and comments about the book, which tells the story of a Black seventh grade boy navigating his first year at a new, mostly-white private school in New York. Craft told the group that the book was inspired by his own and his children’s experiences, saying, “I make books I wish I’d had as a kid.”
Craft’s appearance was the library’s second author visit of the year. In January, author-illustrator Robin Ha Zoomed in for a period to talk to the Upper Middle School about her graphic memoir, Almost American Girl. The book, at once humorous and intense, begins when Ha is 14 and her mother announces that they’ll be leaving their home in Seoul, South Korea, for a vacation in Huntsville, Alabama. Soon her mother is remarried, the visit turns permanent, and Ha must adjust to a new language, a new school, and new relatives. Enthusiastic students peppered Ha with fantastic questions about her drawing style, her career, and her life story.