Powerlibrarian has always been about moving elementary readers to the next level. Something happened to me on Friday night that I won’t long forget. I met author Kate DiCamillo. The picture on the left is of Kate and myself. I dragged my daughter away from her husband and my 15 month old grandson on a Friday night to go and meet Kate at a book signing for her new book, “The Magician’s Elephant” at Children’s Book World on Haverford Station Road in Haverford, PA. It turns out that Children’s Book World is less than 6 miles from where Kate was born at Lakenau Hospital, which is in the neighborhood where I grew up and is where my brother was born too.
My daughter was speaking to some of the other moms who had shoved their kids to the front of the line, she was saying, “yes, she is 12.” And I realized she was talking about me. And she was right. I was 12 because there was magic at Children’s Book World that night and it transformed me into a 12 year old. The magic was books, Kate DiCamillo’s books. When Kate read from the first chapter of “The Magician’s Elephant” something happened. Something more than the hush that fell over the room. It was as if the elephant were really there in the room, or it soon would be tumbling out of the ceiling like the elephant in the book. When I took my first library class some 8 or 10 years ago I thought elementary libraries were going out of style. I wanted to make sure that technology played a big role in whatever Library Skills I was teaching kids. Well, listening to Kate DiCamillo reading from the first chapter of her new book “The Magician’s Elephant” made me realize that elementary libraries are not all about technology; they are all about magic. And the magic is different for each student. The trick is to discover where the magic spark lies in each student and make it happen for him or her in the short 40 minutes I see them each week. I have decided this week to let Kate’s words stand for themselves. I am showing two short videos I took of Kate reading from her book “The Magician’s Elephant” to my students this week. For me her reading was magic. Meeting Kate on Friday night was magic, I want my students to feel that excitement. I want to share my enthusiasm about Kate’s books. Let's hear it for the magic in children’s books, especially Kate DiCamillo’s books. The magic that can transform a children’s world in ways that no other reading in their later life can!