Thanks to a grant from the Library of Michigan, the Library of Michigan Foundation, Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Humanities Council, Meijer, and the Michigan Center for the Book, Boulan and Smith hosted local author Jean Alicia Elster on Friday, May 2.
Mrs. Elster's book, The Colored Car, was chosen by the Library of Michigan as a 2014 Michigan Notable Book. Sixth graders from Boulan and Smith were able to learn about Detroit history and about Mrs. Elster's family history through reading her book and through participating in her presentation. Also, the presentation was broadcast live to Baker and Larson Middle Schools, so students there could share in the experience.
Following the presentation in the morning, Boulan students who preordered the book were invited to a special "Lunch with the Author" in the media center. Ms. Johnson's Life Skills students made peanut butter and jelly popcorn for the students and Mrs. Elster to try, inspired by "Grandma Ford's Grape Jelly" recipe in the book.
At Smith, students who pre-ordered the book were invited to "Dessert with the Author," where they were able to get their book signed and ask Mrs. Elster questions about the book and her life as an author. Mrs. Webb's Life Skills classes made wonderful Grape Jelly Cookies for the dessert after they learned about the grape jelly recipe in the book.
Following dessert, Mrs. Elster gave her presentation to sixth graders at Smith. Students enjoyed interacting with Mrs. Elster, and all ten copies of her book at both Smith and Boulan have been checked out for weeks!
We are so appreciative of this opportunity afforded to us by the Library of Michigan, and we are grateful that Mrs. Elster was able to visit Boulan AND Smith, all in one day! Thanks as well to the parents and teachers who helped out at the events.
Mrs. Christina Chatel, MLIS
A teacher librarian at Boulan Park and Smith Middle Schools in Troy, Michigan.