When I was in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC recently to attend the Gaithersburg Book Festival, I stopped by Strawberry Knolls Elementary School. Strawberry Knolls lives up to its lovely name. Students and staff were generous and welcoming, and everyone was appreciative of my books, my time, my presence in the school, and the foundation that made my visit possible. Look at this lovely post by 1st grade teacher Laura Ado.
An Open Book Foundation is a DC area nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring authors and illustrators to schools in the Nation’s Capital. Not only do they arrange the visits and host the visiting authors and illustrators, but they also purchase or arrange for donations of books so that every child leaves at the end of the day with a book. Sometimes these are the first books these children have ever owned. That should not be the case, certainly not in communities in and around Washington, DC. But that’s the way it is.
I came home with a stash of thank you notes. No one can do rainbows like a six year-old. One child took four elements of the book jacket of my picture book, Out of the Way! Out of the Way! and integrated them into his own jaunty image. Wow. This is why I write for kids!
Article 17 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically calls for states who are party to the convention to “encourage the production and dissemination of children’s books.” The United States at this time is a signatory to the convention, but has yet to ratify it.