You normally would be hard-pressed to find students eager to come to school on a Saturday. On one particular sunny morning, however, the halls of the School for Creative and Performing Arts were packed to the brim with excited readers. It required only a glance at the countless smiling faces and happily clutched books to understand why: Raina Telgemeier was presenting her new story, Guts.
Telgemeier visited the school as part of her “It Takes Guts!” tour, a cross-country trip where she connects with readers and shares her life stories. Telgemeier began by imparting wisdom on reading, writing and the challenges of growing up.
Among many pieces of advice, she urged students to be open with one another, so that they, in turn, feel less alone with their own vulnerabilities. After presenting, Telgemeier hosted a Q&A and took selfies with each enthusiastic audience member. Readers also walked away with their own signed copy of Guts.
Telgemeier’s books focus on the trials of adolescence but can be appreciated by readers of all ages. Guts tells the story of a young girl overcoming her struggles with fear and anxiety.
“These books tell young girls that it is O.K. to be who you are, you are accepted and you can be yourself,” says Kelly Morton, a marketing manager for Joseph-Beth Booksellers, which planned the event. “I think that’s what everyone needs to hear, even as adults.”
Whether personal fans or voracious readers, the adults in attendance were excited, too. But it was the kids’ enthusiasm that was most palpable. “They have been so excited for this,” said a mom of two big Telgemeier fans. Like many of the children in attendance, the girls were beaming with joy from the moment they walked through the doors. As they scribbled thank you notes on a large banner, they shared that their favorite Telgemeier book was Smile.
Whether on book covers or the many faces in attendance, this event certainly brought smiles of all kinds.
Keep up with the great things happening at SCPA at scpa.cps-k12.org.