On May 11, I had the honor of representing Jump Splash Books at Finland Elementary, where I was invited to come speak about "The Tree Watcher".
Two newspapers came to cover the event, and you can read those articles here and here.
We began the day in the morning at the Kindergarten Center. The kids were very excited to see my rudimentary drawing of a tree with no leaves, and wanted to know why it was there. I told them that I needed their help filling this tree up with leaves - and to do so I needed to know their favorite thing about trees!
The responses were great, and I gave each one a sticky note in the shape of a leaf to put on the tree.
Next we moved to the main elementary school, where we did six sessions! I asked the students to name for me some reasons that trees are important, and I was very impressed with their answers. Everything from shelter, to food, to oxygen was mentioned. I was especially impressed with the answer of a tree being its own mini-habitat for insects and animals.
I also asked for examples of how they use their imaginations every day - they were excited when I pointed out that playing Mind Craft is a great example of using an imagination! The kids were so engaged while I was reading the book, and I had a wonderful time explaining the creative process that culminated in "The Tree Watcher".
Later that evening, I returned for a meet and greet with students and parents. During this time, we planted a maple tree that I donated and I was genuinely touched when they all promised to help take care of it. I asked them to remember this time when they grow older, and if they were ever feeling like they were missing imagination and joy in their lives, to come back, sit under this tree, look up, and remember.
I have no doubt that this tree is in good hands, and I couldn't be more impressed with this group of kids. Thank you, Finland Elementary, for everything!