The six-island Some Writer! Tour with Melissa Sweet, featuring her incredible new biography of beloved Maine writer E.B. White, was recently launched on the island of North Haven, the first stop of six in October and November.
Upon arrival, Lisa Shields, Education Enrichment Coordinator for North Haven Community School, welcomed Melissa and the IRW team. After getting settled at the Nebo Lodge, we were treated to a sumptuous dinner with representatives from various island nonprofits that helped organize events around the Some Writer! Tour.
The visit started on a high note at the Waterman’s Community Center, where North Haven high school students dazzled viewers with their creative, interactive art and writing installations based on E.B.White’s essay, “Once More to the Lake.” They had called upon all their senses to recount their journey to and climb of Mt. Washington. They truly made the mountain experience come alive for participants through touch, smell, taste, and assorted activities. An awesome experience!
North Haven community members gathered to hear Melissa talk about writing the book and the life of E.B. White. At a potluck-of-sweets, many community members contributed yummy desserts; the smell of chocolate was everywhere, adding a celebratory feel and smell to an already festive occasion.
The elementary students at school the next day made Charlotte’s Web come alive with their projects on friendship, farms and all things Charlotte. Young students drew farm animals with Melissa and older students worked on limericks and different forms of writing that E.B. White practiced. We topped off our North Haven adventure with a tour of the Turner Farm, complete with many pigs out in the pen; it was truly magical (after a morning of viewing giant sized spider webs with words that changed overnight, and cardboard geese trying to escape the confines of the farm).
Tom Groening, editor of The Working Waterfront, was on hand to capture the story of IRW’s Tour and all the wonderful creations and stories it has inspired.
At the next stop on the tour, Vinalhaven hosted an evening event at the public library and then welcomed us for a full day at the school, complete with an array of wonderful art projects, including paint relief spider webs with various words of kindness embedded.
A full school presentation was followed by grade-level workshops during the day. One kindergartner was in disbelief that he would not only get a signed copy of Some Writer! but that he’d be able to keep it for his very own “ forever”. Another swore that he’d be hiding his book under his bed so that his sister wouldn’t find it!
In preparation for Melissa’s visit, the second graders had delved into the world of spiders through research, art projects, and through science with a naturalist as they created a spider’s habitat. Third through fifth graders had fun using their imaginations in creating limericks with Melissa.
Older students had very thoughtful questions for Melissa including,
“How many chapters do you usually put in a book?”
“Where did you find a manual typewriter?”
“How did E.B. White inspire you?”
“Is it hard to think of ideas?”
After wrapping up the school visit, the IRW team and Melissa hopped back onto the ferry to return to the mainland in Rockland and prepare for the next four visits within the month.
We have many more photos from those wonderful days; please check out our Facebook photo albums to find more smiling faces.
Stay tuned for our next stop at Swan’s Island!