Anne Sibley O’Brien on Swan’s Island and Great Cranberry Island

Swan’s Island Elementary School

Anne Sibley O’Brien encouraged students at Swan’s Island Elementary School to jump into becoming writers and artists — now! In her all-school presentation, Annie discussed life in South Korea and delighted students by introducing herself in Korean.

Students in grades K-2 shared in a read aloud of I’m New Here with Annie. The group then talked about what it’s like to be new, feeling different than others and about how to welcome someone new by saying things like “You’re cool!”, playing with them, or finding ways to make them feel special.

Students in grades 3-5 had spent time with the graphic novel of The Legend of Hong Kil Dong and had some substantial questions to ask Annie after hearing about other Robin Hood legends. They wondered how she came up with the idea, how long it takes her to illustrate books, and wanted to see an example of her earliest writing pieces. She showed them a story from grade school and talked about how her writing has evolved!

This group also crafted letters to share with pen pals at a school in South Korea. We can’t wait to hear what they learn from budding Korean writers!

Students in grades 6-8 were reading Annie’s novel set in North and South Korea, In the Shadow of the Sun, which is filled with intrigue, drama and adventure, and had come up with some great questions for Annie. They also asked for tips on how to be a good writer. Annie’s suggestion? “Read, read, read! If you want something to be strong and healthy, you need to feed it. Reading is like brain food for your mind; from reading you learn how to tell a story and different ways to write.”

Cranberry Isles with Frenchboro

Cranberry Isles students were joined by the three Frenchboro girls in welcoming Annie to the Longfellow School on Great Cranberry Island. Older students had developed probing questions about Korea and had done some research on North and South Korea, which gave them the opportunity to delve more deeply into the book and their time with Annie.

Students were very tuned into how it might feel to be new and different from everyone else. Many excelled at drawing Korean style dragons with Annie.

Of course, a fun part of any island visit is visiting and taking the ferries. The day started with the Frenchboro students aboard the Seacoast Mission’s Sunbeam and ending the day on the mailboat back to Northeast Harbor. Kids and authors enjoy those special moments shared on the water journey.

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