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Vivian and Me: Part II

Barnes and Noble (Greece) with Vivian and Me

I had a great time at my second official book signing.  It was the Book Fair to benefit our own school library, held at Barnes and Noble last Thursday evening.










We prepared our students the week or so ahead of this event.  We wanted them to have an idea of Vivian’s body of work.  So, I created a Book Tasting event in the classroom so the kids could read a few of Vivian’s 40+ books and start to understand her style of writing.

First, I created a menu of the task (I’ll post template later) which explained all of the directions. Then, I went to the Dollar Tree and bought some tablecloths, plastic plates, paper plates, and trays.  I used the plastic plates as a place holder and the inside worksheet as a napkin.

Then, I collected as many of Vivian’s books as possible from our libraries as well as the local used book store.  (The Book Centre- I LOVE that place!) I put the buffet of Vivian’s books in the center of each table.

We had time in class for three book tastings.  Kids chose a book, read for 5-7 minutes. Then, in the next 5-7 minutes, students collected samples of Vivian’s writing, and filled out a rating scale. Then, we mingled around the room (I play the Lollipop Song like musical chairs). When the music stopped, they had to sit in a new place in the room. (this is where the plastic plate place holder is important) It was time for the next Book Tasting. Repeat 3 times total.

Oh! And, yes, I had 3 courses of “food”- candy in special cups, chips, then use the special cup for water.

Our librarian, Amanda, worked so hard to coordinate the evening:

  • Scheduled an author visit (Vivian Vande Velde) at the middle school the day before.
  • Enlisted the help of the FACS and English departments.  FACS ran a contest in class to create two original frappuccino recipes that honored our two books. The winners of the specialty drink for 23 Minutes (VVV) and Sioux Code Talkers (AP) received certificates and a free drink in the B&N Cafe’ the evening of the Book Fair.  The drink line was long that night! Everyone wanted to try to yummy drinks.
  • Displayed some student work in the Children’s Department.
  • Gretchen Breon and I created a scavenger hunt for each author/book. Anyone who completed the scavenger hunt put their name into a basket for a drawing after the event.  There were 10 winners! Vivian gave away some signed books and I gave away some Code Talker coins.











Of course, many of my students and colleagues attended the event. Siblings (older/younger) came to meet Vivian and buy one of her 40+ books. I also met some interesting people who came out to talk to me about Native Americans in the military.

Overall, the evening was well attended.  We both sold lots of books and had a great time!

Lastly, I always have my students write thank you notes to our guest speakers. It’s so important to find out what they actually took away from the presentation.



I’ll post more photos as I get them from others. Vivian is a wonderful photographer who shares her pictures.  Check them out at her website

Thank you, Vivian Vande Velde!

Picture of Andrea


Children's Author and Educator

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