This two-day visit was IRW’s 11th time to Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School and we always love a chance to cross Eggemoggin Reach. And, in fact, most of our day one workshops were held in “The Reach,” the beautiful performing arts center, so aptly named, where Annie took them on a journey to South Korea.
Seventh and eighth graders had done a unit on In the Shadow of the Sun, and Ms. Austin asked her students, “What can we do to learn about perseverance, courage, and resilience?” They chose to study WWII and read Night by Elie Wiesel. They were amazed how every day something to do with North Korea came up in the news that they could discuss. They watched videos about defectors, read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and developed a fantastic list of questions.
They were also courageous enough to share their critical feedback, which didn’t shock Annie and told her that they read and cared deeply about the book. Annie told them that their going deep into the book with research and questions was “the greatest honor you can give an author.”
The kindergarten to second grade group also had a list of questions for Annie, such as:
How did you make your book? (Annie told them that she makes a big, big pile of ideas so she can pick the very best one!)
What’s your favorite thing to draw?
Why do you like to draw?
What if someone stole your art journal?
On the second day, third and fourth graders joined Annie in the airy and open beautiful school library. A big group of three classes and teachers, they all were working on research projects about Deer Isle so they could share with Korean students on the island of Jeju as an exchange thanks to Anne’s introduction!
We can’t wait to hear and see some of what take place after the visit. They prepared extremely interesting and thoughtful questions that they brought to their sessions with Annie and practiced their dragon drawing while Annie signed their books with the Korean spelling of their name.