Nationally recognized author responds to West End student

Anthony Holcomb, a fifth-grade student at West End Elementary School, recently received a very special message from someone who shares his love for reading.

Anthony Holcomb, a fifth-grade student at West End Elementary School, recently received a very special message from someone who shares his love for reading.

The following text was submitted by Jenna Gable, an educator who teaches ESOL to students at West End.

“My original plan with ‘Book of the Week’ was for me to lead the discussion for a few weeks, and feature new and exciting books found in my classroom library.

“The point was to get fifth-graders excited about reading, and then they could eventually take over and lead Book of the Week themselves. But after dismissal two weeks ago one of my students, Anthony Holcomb, sat down at my back table with me. He placed his arms on the table, interlaced his fingers and began raving about a book he found in my library.

“He said things like, ‘I really felt connected to the main character’ and ‘This was my favorite book I’ve ever read!’ His book talk was so gripping, that I asked if he wanted to be in charge of Book of the Week. He agreed and got to work that same night on a video called Book Talk. You see, he is a self-proclaimed YouTuber, so this was right up his alley.

“After deciding that he could manage without ordering a green screen and a new microphone for the project, he plopped down on his bed, gushed about “I Survived the Great Molasses Flood, 1919,” a book authored by Lauren Tarshis. This is the newest book in Tarshis’ series of historical fiction books about various disasters from history.”

Anthony’s video was impressive his teacher said. So after discovering that Lauren Tarshis maintains a pretty active Twitter presence, Gable decided to tweet Anthony’s YouTube link to her in hopes that she would see it.

“I loved seeing this Jenna!!! Thank you and your wonderful reader,” was the tweet reply from the author. Gable secretly put the screenshot of this Twitter exchange into the last slide of Anthony’s presentation. On Monday morning, Anthony came in and presented his Book Talk video to two classes of fifth-graders. When he thought his presentation was over, Gable told him that she added in one more slide, which caught him off guard.

“He clicked to the next slide and took a few seconds to take in what he was seeing. He will be the first to tell you that he is not a morning person, and prefers to do most of his talking after lunch. So when I asked how he was feeling, he grabbed his face with both hands and gave a quick shrill scream to indicate how he was feeling on the inside. Later on, when reflecting on the attention he received from Lauren Tarshis and, more importantly, our Principal Dennis Drummond, he said, ‘It sure is nice to be recognized and appreciated.’”

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