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One School One Read Ends At Sandy Hook With An Author's Visit And A Special Night



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One School One Read Ends At Sandy Hook With

An Author’s Visit And A Special Night

By Eliza Hallabeck

Students could be found celebrating one book in multiple classrooms throughout Sandy Hook Elementary School on Thursday, May 21, just one day after Blair Hickson Riley, the author of Red Slider, this year’s One School One Read book, visited the school to talk with students.

In the school’s gymnasium students found themselves pretending to be characters from Red Slider, about different animals who live in a place called Turtle Pond who learn they need to find a new home before their pond is demolished, and making their way through an obstacle course. In another room students made a turtle or frog hat to wear for the night. And in the library/media center students and family played table games like Turtle/Frog Checkers and Tic Tac Toe.

During the school’s One School One Read a single book is chosen for all students in the school to read, handouts are sent home to parents and in-school games and projects are centered around the book.

While visiting the school on Wednesday, Blair Hickson Riley gave two presentations for students, and visited each classroom to meet students and give out presigned stickers for each student.

During her presentation, Ms Riley, who is a biologist and a professor at Queen’s College in Flushing, Queens, N.Y., said she was visiting Emerald Lake State Park in Vermont when she had the idea for the plot of her story.

“I wonder what these frogs think of all the rumbling going by,” said Ms Riley while speaking to the students, “and wouldn’t it be fun to write a story about what the frogs think?”

From the concept of frogs, Ms Riley decided to write the book from a turtle’s perspective. In Red Slider Ms Riley used terms like “rumblers” to describe how turtles may view the outside world. “Rumblers” are heavy machinery or large vehicles, and a “rumbler run” is a highway.

Part of the fun of being a fiction writer, Ms Riley said to the students, is putting in fun elements to a story, like animals that get along together when in real life they probably would not.

Ms Riley also walked the students through what she did to create the book and prepare it for publication.

“This was rewritten about seven times,” said Ms Riley.

She said it took her about one year to write Red Slider.

“I wrote Red Slider,” said Ms Riley, “because I had a story to get out.”

For information about the book and purchasing Red Slider go to www.redslider.com. According to the book’s website, 20 percent of Ms Riley’s royalties for Red Slider are donated directly to nonprofit organizations devoted to wildlife conservation and nature education.

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