Last week my daughter’s second grade class had the great pleasure of a free and fabulous 30-minute Skype visit with the talented and funny Tara Lazar. Tara’s debut picture book, THE MONSTORE (Simon and Schuster, 2013), hit shelves June 4th and she’s been celebrating with blog posts, book signings, and virtual visits to classrooms all over the country. Tara’s visit to Room 8 was the perfect culminating activity for these fun-loving, hard-working, inquisitive second graders. All year, my daughter and her classmates have been honing their reading and writing skills. They’ve discussed what it means to be an author, never imagining they’d actually get to meet one!
Excitement buzzed in the days leading up to Tara’s visit. Ahead of time, the students read and thought about the story, then brainstormed questions to ask Tara. My daughter was especially excited because they also got to vote on what type of pajamas Tara would wear for the visit. They chose ice-skate pajamas.
Here’s a shot of my daughter’s teacher standing by the class questions just moments before the visit began. Just out of view the children sat on the floor facing the smartboard, oozing silent excitement as they waited for Tara to appear.
Then, with the squeak of a rubber ducky (which Tara held), there she was! And what a treat! In the fastest thirty minutes I’ve ever experienced, Tara first introduced herself, using those cute pajamas as an ice breaker. Turns out she used to be a professional ice skater!
Next she read THE MONSTORE with tremendous and delightful expression. Then, she opened the floor for questions, answering each one in a wonderfully kid-friendly way. For example, “How long did it take to publish THE MONSTORE?” they wanted to know. “More than half your life!” she replied, making the kids do the math.
Finally, she had a parting assignment for the kids to create the monster they’d pick if they could could go to THE MONSTORE. What would its name be? What would it look like? What would its talents be? She even offered to post their monsters on her website! How cool is that?! (From the expressions on the kids faces, I’d say very cool.)
Thank you, Tara, for offering these wonderful virtual class visits. What a great way to get kids excited about reading and writing!
For more information on Tara visit her blog. You can purchase her book online or at your favorite independent bookstore.