Wish you were there!

Dear IRW Friends,

I wish all of you could have joined us on Thursday June 4 at the launch of Cynthia Lord’s new book, A Handful of Stars, at the Milbridge Elementary School.  There are not enough superlatives to adequately express how truly amazing this event was.

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To put the event in context, several months ago IRW and Cynthia Lord (award winning author, member of IRW Board), at the invitation and with the enthusiastic participation of the principal and teachers at the Milbridge Elementary School, agreed to stage the book launch of A Handful of Stars at the school, and to coordinate the launch with literature-based student learning and a community-wide event celebrating the school and its students.

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IRW, mostly through the efforts of our talented and energetic Program Director, Ruth Feldman, worked for months with teachers to devise programs and projects that link age-appropriate and curriculum-appropriate learning with the themes and issues developed in the book.

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A cooperative effort of Ruth and IRW Communications Coordinator Jenna Beaulieu, working with Scholastic Publishing, author Cynthia Lord and the teachers and administration at the Milbridge School, planned and implemented a full-day event, including a series of author sessions with students, and a Literary Arts evening event for the Milbridge community and our local partners.

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While it is not possible to adequately portray the glory of the event in a few short words and pictures, please try to sense the impact of IRW’s programs on schools and communities, such as Milbridge, by picturing these few highlights:

  • The town and school festooned with banners and balloons highlighting Cynthia’s book and IRW’s visit
  • Cynthia Lord inspiring groups of attentive and engaged students to create their own stories, and  encouraging budding authors
  • Stacks of shiny new books, waiting for Cynthia to personally autograph for each student to take home and own
  • Cars filling the parking lot and lining the adjacent streets, bringing scores of students and their families to the evening celebration
  • An auditorium filled with students’ projects based on themes from  the book, all evidencing a deep level of creativity and the link of literature to learning
  • The students proudly explaining their projects to parents and community members

Here’s a video that also captures highlights of the day!

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The pride of the Milbridge school – from students, to teachers, to Maria White the principal, to participating community partners, to the parents and family members – was palpable.

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While our collective congratulations go to Cynthia, Ruth, Jenna, Jan, and all the others who worked so hard to make this event possible, they also go to our friends who understand the importance of what we do, and make it possible through their support.  It is a proud time for IRW.

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– Lauren Jennings, Chair of the Board of Island Readers & Writers

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