By Katrina Stevens
On the 3rd floor there’s standing room only in the Wheeler Auditorium as Kwame Alexander reads from his new children’s book, Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band
, which was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award
. The Board president graciously (though unexpectedly) turned pages while the audience enthusiastically completed the lines as Alexander read.
Students (grades 4-12) from all over the state were honored for their placement in a national essay program sponsored locally by the Maryland Humanities Council/Maryland Center for the Book. Level Three, first-place winner, Adam Antoszewski of Catonville High, read his eloquent letter to Herman Hesse as he made nuanced connections between his grandmother’s dementia and Siddhartha. Similarly, Claire Jenkins of St. John the Baptist Catholic School, the Level Two first-place winner, read her letter to the author of The Little Engine That Could, describing how this book inspired her struggles with reading through her dyslexia. The youngest young author, Jisoo Choi of Ellicott City, shared how Someone Named Eve resonated with her own experience holding onto the language of her parents. Years from now some of these and the many more next-generation authors may very well be presenting their own sessions at this festival!
Katrina Stevens blogs all things education, technology, the arts, and Baltimore. She supervises literacy for the Baltimore County Public Schools. Katrina is also the co-founder of LessonCast Learning, a Baltimore-based education technology company that provides blended professional development. She was also recently awarded the national Apple Broadway League for her work with the Hippodrome Foundation. Katrina blogs regularly at LessonCast.org/author/Katrina.