April Fool’s Day may have passed, but it sure feels like someone is fooling with us as the world is as topsy-turvy as Alice’s Wonderland. Schools in Maine have been closed for three weeks now and may be closed for more. We are saddened that we have had to indefinitely suspend our school programs and miss seeing children’s smiling faces as they engage with a children’s book author or illustrator. But with every challenge we face there are always bright spots that bring hope and joy – and there has been no shortage of either during these past few weeks.
We’d like to give a shout-out to the creative community, the authors and illustrators both within the IRW network and beyond. They have stepped up to meet kids’ needs while they adapt to distance learning. From live drawing sessions to virtual story time and more, the artistic community has opened their hearts, sharing their talent with families and educators. Having worked with many of them, we are humbled but not surprised.
We’d also like to recognize the hard work of all of those in our partner schools, from bus drivers to cafeteria workers and principals who abruptly changed the way they deliver education. They have mapped out their communities to make deliveries of both learning packets and meals. They’ve coordinated pick-up sites to accommodate a variety of schedules to be sure no one is left out. They’ve worked with families to set them up with Internet through Spectrum or created Wi-Fi areas at school. Teachers and principals are reading books on social media to keep connections with their kids, which of course makes our hearts soar and we salute their efforts!
So, from our hearts to yours, we want you to know we are with you in spirit and are using these bright spots, the wonderful stories, to guide us towards the light at the end of the tunnel. We miss you all!