Monday, September 22, 2014

Letters from Second Graders - Thank Yous and Baby Beards! Reviews


A few weeks ago I enjoyed a morning with all the second grade classes at Craddock Elementary School in Aurora, Ohio. I was asked by the teachers to speak to their students about how a "small moment" in their life can become a story or a book. I explained to the students that I had a "small moment" happen during Taco Night at our dinner table. My daughter smeared black beans all over her face which looked like a beard. This wasn't the first time I saw a black bean beard. It happened to my son about two years earlier, but I didn't recognize it as a "small moment." I was lucky to have this  experience again. I wrote about it in my journal so I wouldn't forget.

For many months, I wrote numerous drafts in my head and on paper trying to turn the "small moment" into a story. Eventually I got the words right. Then, I added a bunch of imagination to bring the story to life in pictures.

Now, my "small moment" is a book called Baby Beards!.  I loved reading it for the first time to a group of students.

At the end my presentation the second grade students understood that:

Small Moments + writing + imagination = a book or a story or a poem or comic book, etc.

Writing and creating is an amazing experience! (and it is extremely fun sharing the creative journey with others!)

All the students in second grade at Craddock Elementary have small journals to write down the "small moments" in their life. The students will use these journals, just like authors do, for their own writing throughout the school year. I am so excited for these students! They will spend their school year writing about topics that have personal meaning. They are going to have so much fun writing this year!  I hope I get to visit again sometime this school year to hear their stories.


This week, I was received a stack of letters from one of the second grade classes. I loved the colorful paper that each letter was written on. The letters were well-written, neat, and thoughtful. I smiled the biggest smile when I finished the stack. The words from all the students really made my day.

I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite letters:

Dear Mr. V,

Thank you for coming to read. I enjoyed it. I like your great pictures. I like the one with the black berry beard with corn. I like your imagination-thinking because it is so juicy with your pictures and your sentences. I love your practice ideas. They were incredibly incredible because they so had much color with the background. 


Sincerely, A.W.


Wow! She said my work was "incredibly incredible"! That is like the most awesomely awesome compliment I have ever received about my books.

Dear Mr. V, 

Thank you for coming in. Your new book is super cool. I could buy it if I had a toddler. It's really cool how you scan pictures. I like how you put pictures on pictures. I like how you show pictures of your sons for inspiration. It's funny when you say Captain Black Bean when your sons smear black beans on their faces. I like your books.

from, G.W.


Wow! Wow! He said my new book is "Super cool!" And maybe 25 years from now he will buy my book!

Dear Mr. V, 

Thank you coming in to speak. I loved how you switched the dark dog to light dog it was cool! You had really great pictures. My favorite was the Captain Black Bean. Ha ha ha. I really like how you put in so much imagination and thinking in your books.


Your friend, C


I am glad I switched the dark brown dog to light brown dog too. I didn't like the dark brown dog and neither did my wife. I show her all my work and she gives me very honest and sometimes brutal feedback.

Dear Mr. V

Thank you for coming. I like the book because it was funny. The pictures were great. It looked like your baby. I like the dog. I like the dog. I like the light dog. I like your book.

from M.

I was glad I came too! She said Baby Beards! was funny! Whew! I thought I was going to be the only one that thought it was funny! I like the dog too! I really like it!




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