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Sharing Books, Inspiring Creativity

Baltimore-based author-illustrator Joyce Hesselberth visited the Lower School in mid-November. She spent time with all classes in pre-kindergarten through second grade, sharing books and inspiring creativity.

For the youngest audiences, she read “Beatrice Was a Tree,” a beautifully illustrated book that illuminates the importance of trees to the planet. After the read-aloud, Hesselberth led the pre-kindergartners and kindergartners in nature-related crafts with real leaves and pretend trees, respectively.

“The class had an absolute blast meeting the talented author! The boys were engrossed, learning fascinating facts about trees and getting lost in the whimsical world of Beatrice,” said kindergarten teacher Erica Hudson. “The magic didn't stop there — inspired by the story, the boys rolled up their sleeves and unleashed their creativity by crafting their own magnificent trees. Ms. Hesselberth’s visit was not only entertaining but also educational, sparking imagination and a love for nature!”

Prep-one students heard “When Molly Ate the Stars,” an enchanting picture book about selflessness, generosity, and friendship, followed by a garland star-making activity. One parent shared that her son came home raving about how much fun he had and used his garland to decorate his bunk bed.

First and second graders read “Mapping Sam,” a story about an adventurous cat who explores her neighborhood. Hesselberth shared with the students how she had wanted to write a book about maps but worried it might be boring. Her real-life cat was the inspiration for Sam’s character and the idea to tell a map story through the eyes of a cat to make it more interesting. After, first grade students not only learned how to draw Sam the cat but they also had the opportunity to create their own original characters. Second grade students designed individual neighborhood maps that connected to one another, creating a mini town.

“The author had such a connection with the kids,” said Lower School Librarian Melissa Da. “They were really engaged. Joyce was amazing.”

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