The Secret Pool at Pembroke Elementary School


Jan and Jenna were on the road again last¬†week – visiting Pembroke Elementary School on March 23 with Maine author Kimberly Ridley and artist Rebekah Raye, the dynamic duo that collaborated on good reads such as “The Secret Pool” and the forthcoming “The Secret Bay.”

We were excited that second through sixth graders from Charlotte Elementary School joined us for both a general assembly and writing/illustration workshops!


We started off the day with all students in the gym. Kim and Rebekah spoke about the secrets of writing and illustrating a book, and specifically about their research of vernal pools, the intriguing, close-to-home subject of “The Secret Pool.”


After the general assembly, Kim and Rebekah led workshops in writing and art (respectively) for two groups, Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-6. Participants learned about how to create a problem for their character, and how to create a solution. They exercised their imaginations and penned descriptive nouns and powerful verbs that showed their character’s action and response!



Each participant chose their favorite action sentence from the writing exercise and used it to illustrate a spread during Rebekah’s illustration workshop. Rebekah discussed the three shades of light, using negative space, and how to add life and vibrancy to an illustration.


Much to our delight, a Pembroke student from the Grades 5-6 group built a lush diorama of a vernal pool, and students from Grades 5-6 worked together to create an exhibit titled “Vernal Pools from A to Z.” We were impressed!


Jan spoke with Grades 5-6 teacher Beckery Renaud about how her class prepared for our visit, including the informative poster they created about vernal pools. Check out the video here!


Each student from the two groups received a personally inscribed copy of “The Secret Pool” during the day.


Pembroke Elementary students are lucky to have vernal pools in their school’s yard, though they’re still covered in a few feet of snow. Kim Ridley told them to keep their ears tuned for frog sounds – the first indicator of life in the vernal pool!

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