Dublin Villager

Author's visit ends with bubble-blowing contest

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Author and illustrator Meghan McCarthy spoke with Wright Elementary School third-graders last week to encourage literacy.

Not many elementary school students can say they've faced a teacher, police officer and superintendent in a bubble gum blowing contest.

A few Wright Elementary School third-graders can make that claim after an April 16 literacy event brought an author and several other visitors to the school.

The event, organized through a partnership between the school district, the Wright Elementary PTO, Dublin branch library, Dublin Foundation and the Dublin AM Rotary club, brought author and illustrator Meghan McCarthy to speak with third-graders.

Library officials they wanted to bring third-graders an experience that would get them excited about reading as they prepare to face tests for the state mandated third-grade reading guarantee and common core curriculum, said Michael Blackwell, Dublin branch library manager.

"The common core uses primarily non-fiction," he said.

"The school librarians picked an author that is fun to read."

McCarthy, author of books including "Strong Man," "Astronaut Handbook," "City Hawk" and "Aliens are Coming," regaled students with stories about her childhood and going to art school.

McCarthy, who draws, writes and manages her own website, was an obvious choice to visit the school for Wright Media Specialist Marisa Congelio.

"We teach all the kids to do those things too," Congelio said.

McCarthy also clued students into her writing process and how hard she worked to get her first book published.

Hearing about these experiences first-hand could get students excited about reading, said Cap Clegg, Dublin Foundation president.

"They get to see the author and talk to her," Clegg said. "It gets students in the reading realm."

The Dublin Foundation awarded a grant to the event that purchased copies of McCarthy's book, "Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum," for all the Wright Elementary third-graders.

"It's a neat opportunity," Clegg said. "All the third-graders get a book, meet and author and the book is autographed by the author."

"We know through reading is the success of life," Blackwell said.

"We're getting books in the hands of kids outside our (library) building."

Wright Elementary also partnered with Pinney Elementary School for the day; students at both schools read McCarthy's books and wrote letters about them to students at the other school.

"They've been doing letter writing back and forth," Congelio said.

"We'll connect virtually so they can meet who they've been writing."

But the day wasn't all about learning.

After McCarthy's talk, Blackwell chose a few students and wrangled a few teachers and even Principal Brian Blum into a bubble gum blowing contest in honor of McCarthy's book about the creation of bubble gum.

The competition was fierce, but students named third-grade teacher Susan Arcy the champion.

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