On November 15th, 2011, local author Deborah Hodge visited Division 5 to share her books, her process and her knowledge with us.
Deborah Hodge has a fantastic blog to check out and even wrote about her visit with us at Seymour! Students were very excited when I let them know that we had an author coming to visit. When Deborah came to the door just before the recess bell, she was greeted by a huge hug from Sergio who looked up at her and said: “Hi Deborah. I really like to read books.” During recess, Deborah set up all of her books around the classroom and when students returned, Shae-Lynn exclaimed, “Did you really write all of those books?” It was a very impressive display!
Deborah explained that when she had been a teacher, many of her students wanted to read non-fiction books but the text and language was just not at their level. She was motivated to create non-fiction titles that were much more accessible – full of fabulous non-fiction features like labelled diagrams, a glossary, fact boxes and interesting facts! Each book contains something life sized in a drawing at the back of each book.
Deborah’s first book was Bears, a popular title in our classroom.
Deborah began sharing the steps in making a non-fiction book like doing the research, writing the text, revising and editing, working with an illustrator, etc. She shared examples of each step as she described it. At one point about mid-way through the series of steps, one student let out a big sigh. “Wow! There really are a lot of steps in making a non-fiction book!
Deborah also shared some cool facts she learned as she researched her various books. A few favourites of ours:
- An anaconda is as long as a bus and as heavy as two big men
- When a polar bear cub is born, it is as small as the palm of your hand
- A mother deer leaves the fawn alone when it is first born so that her scent won’t attract predators.
Deborah also brought in animal fur and animal skulls to show us. Very interesting and fun to interact with!
Deborah left us with more than a great learning experience – about how non-fiction books are made, about animals, and about furs and skulls. She left us with some lovely gifts.
First she signed our classroom copy of Lily and the Mixed up Letters. This wonderful book about a little girl who struggles learning to read is of course written by Deborah and illustrated by France Brassard. It is a favourite of both Ms. Gelson and Ms. Hibbert.
I am a big believer of children owning their own books and having their own book collections – the power of “books in hand and in home.” Deborah signed each book for each child and in the last week I have heard students making comments like, “Did you read about . . . . in our book?” Thank you Deborah for such an amazing morning and such generosity!