Here’s a question I posed to my book club a few months ago. “How many of you would like to have a job where you read and blog about books, then travel around and tell other people about all of the amazing books you’re reading?” After everyone’s hands shot up, I announced that Mr. Schu would be coming to our school during our Scholastic Book Fair. “Guys, he’s the AMBASSADOR of School Libraries! That’s his job!” Schu better watch his back because there’s about 150 middle schoolers after his job.
Mr. Schu arrived in my library in the midst of my book fair and immediately started shopping. He bought a stack of books about as tall as he is (fyi-he’s really tall), and then we were off to the auditorium to set up. He’d prepared a slideshow of books to share with my students, and I was flattered that he asked me to share some as well. I’d previously sent my picks, which he included in his slideshow. He lined up his book giveaways across the front of the stage, and we were ready to roll.
I selected my 6th graders to attend his presentation because I wanted to invest in the youngest readers in my school. I knew that meeting Mr. Schu would help them understand what we are all about in our library, which is connecting kids with great books and creating lifelong readers. The 7th graders enjoyed 8 author visits when they were in 6th grade (8!!), and the 8th grade had already had 2 years of amazing author visits. I was excited for my 6th graders to have this opportunity.
After I introduced him, and he told the kids about his super amazing job, it was time to get down to book talking. I warmed up the crowd with The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron. Then I passed it to Mr. Schu, who book talked Raymie Nightingale. If you’ve not had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Schu share this book, seek it out. You may already know of his undying love for Kate DiCamillo’s books, but until you’ve witnessed the way he talks about her books and this book in particular, you wonder if you’ve ever really loved a book as much as he has. He finished the book talk, followed by, “Who wants it?” A sea of hands shot up, and then, it was game-on. The kids understood what was going to happen with all of those books lined up across the front of the stage, and they were ready for more!
The kids laughed when he described the different types of teachers that Topher, Brand, and Steve have had in Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and what makes Ms. Bixby one of the good ones. He shared The One and Only Ivan, and the students were in awe that he got to meet Ivan. Later, I’d overhear them telling their friends about the special section in the back of The One and Only Ivan, and the story of how it got there. Ultimately, he gave my students a year’s worth of great reading suggestions!
He ended his presentation with a group read aloud of I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, which was the perfect note to end on because it sums up Mr. Schu’s heart. He beams with love for kids, books, and libraries, and he truly does wish them more opportunities to discover the joy of reading and to be inspired by books.
Our day with Mr. Schu was perfect. I am grateful to my Scholastic Book Fairs rep, Molly Gaughan, who made it all happen. I do I wish you the opportunity to have Mr. Schu visit your school some day, because it will be a moment you and your students will never forget, and I wish Mr. Schu many more opportunities to connect with readers in this world. Thanks for coming, Mr. Schu!