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Thank a teacher 2019

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5–11), and we know we speak for most parents when we say how grateful we are for these vital members of our village. Teachers’ work on the front lines has a profound impact on our children — in small and big ways.

Kitty’s fourth grader has a gift-of-a-teacher who works to see the best in each one of her kids — all twenty-something of them. Throughout the year, she reads aloud to the class — from novels such as Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind — to open students’ minds and hearts. That practice has led to some great conversations at home. Thank you, Jennifer Lavallee, for your enthusiasm and dedication. Kitty's third grader was out of school sick for twelve days in January when his class started studying Roald Dahl and his books. This nine-year-old was motivated to keep up with the reading On His Own while recovering from a string of viruses. His teacher is a master at creating an environment where learning is collaborative and contagious (ha! ugh). Thank you, Stephanie Dembro, for your positive energy and commitment. (And a hug of gratitude for meeting a painfully shy nine-year-old at the threshold of his comfort zone and gently, intuitively ushering him forward.)

Elissa's kindergartner's teacher was one of Roger's close friends growing up (!) so we knew she would have good taste in books. Thank you, Diane, for your warmth and for sharing your love of nature. And thank you, Val, for your sense of humor, your hugs, and for making the kids feel so comfortable and loved. The third-grade teachers in Elissa's school have been fighting the good fight on various fronts -- against racist standardized testing practices and for thoughtful and critical (re)examination of representation throughout our history and culture, past and present. Thank you Anna and Aviva (and, across the hall, Katie) for your courage and your strong voices -- and for your diverse and engaging classroom library.

Here’s Kitty on an end-of-year gift that the above-mentioned son’s second-grade teacher gave to each of her students, how it sat untouched for a year, and how reading it led to a small business opportunity, community (well, neighborhood) engagement, and $8.50.

Follow our “school stories” and "teachers" tags for more teacher appreciations, and visit Lolly's Classroom for more by and about teachers using trade books in the classroom.

Also, seek out the “Dear Robin” tag for links to remembrances of and articles by second-grade teacher-of-our-hearts Robin Smith, who died in 2017. In 2008, Robin wrote “Teachers I Remember” in which she says what “I hope the children will remember second grade as one of their best years. I hope they will remember me the way I remember my teachers — those from my childhood and those who come alive in the books I love.”

Elissa Gershowitz and Kitty Flynn
Elissa Gershowitz and Kitty Flynn
Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor and Kitty Flynn is consulting editor of The Horn Book, Inc. They co-parent the Horn Book's Family Reading blog at hbook.com/welcome-to-family-reading

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