Monday, March 14, 2011

Samantha Vamos at Open Window!

Last week we were fortunate enough to have Samantha Vamos come to our school. She did three presentations - one for kindergarten and first grade, one for second grade and one for fifth grade. Students got to see her PowerPoint slideshow about what it's like to be an author and a short movie about her life, listened to her read her books aloud, and got to ask her questions. (One of my favorite questions came from a first grader who asked, "Mrs. Vamos, what do you like better: writing books or selling books?")

Samantha emphasized that writing is a skill - and as with any skill, you get better with practice! She talked about how many times (about 50!) she rewrote her first picture book, Before You Were Here, Mi Amor, and how she learned to use rejections as a way to make the book better by really listening to the comments of the publishers who turned it down.

Fifth graders were able to see some of the early drafts of The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred, with the editors' comments on both text and illustrations. Samantha had created a special presentation just for them on generating story ideas and described all the ways she gains inspiration for her writing. In turn, students were thrilled to share with her the stories they'd written in English and Spanish!

As always, it was a real treat to welcome an author to our campus and I hope the experience was one that our students will remember for years to come.

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