Sunday, April 29, 2007

Educator Appreciation

"They like us, they really like us!"

Yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up the copies of KAPOW! I ordered last weekend and saw that it was the first day of Educator Appreciation Week.

Being very susceptible to enjoying the perks that come with teaching (there aren't many) I signed up for the Educator's Appreciation Afternoon Tea that was to be held the next day. They promised to raffle off over $500 worth of 'incredible prizes', provide a 'light lunch' and the clincher was that there would be guest authors and illustrators. Oh, AND they would kick up the educator's discount from its usual 20% to 25%! Therefore, if I bought $100 worth of books I would save like...$250! (Joy - that math is for you.)

Now those jaded readers may say that it is just an opportunity for B&N to rev up business and for authors to turn a quick buck. I must admit this was my initial feeling. However, that little devil was silenced by the thought of winning $500 worth of merchandise.

I went this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed myself. As I walked from table to table I was greeted by employees with "Oh, you're the teacher from New York". I felt like a celebrity as there was obviously a little grapevine gossip playing out. They could not believe that I commute two hours to get to work everyday and I enjoyed playing my part in this scenario. I am a talker after all and once I begin to discuss education and children watch out.

The children's book authors and illustrators were Wendy Pfeffer, Gene Barretta, Joe Kulka, Stephen Heigh, Betty Tatham and John Sciullo. Once I saw their beautiful books my prior resolve to keep a closed wallet was melted and I scooped up five of them. I am a sucker for autographed books and could not help myself. I think my students will really enjoy them too.

Comedian and talk-show host Joy Behar has teamed up with illustrator Gene Barretta to create a feisty, lovable character in this cheerful, funny picture book. When Max the mixed-breed meets a pack of snobby purebred dogs in the dog run, he can’t understand why they don’t want to play with him and his mongrel friends. Determined to get everyone to play together, brainy Max—who is part poodle, after all—comes up with a way to break the ice between the mixed-breeds and the purebreds. America’s current obsession with designer dogs makes this book as timely as it is lively.

An authorial debut for illustrator Barretta, Now & Ben aims at the youngest readers, limiting its purview to Franklin as a slightly tubby, jolly inventor and innovator. Each left-hand page describes and illustrates one of Franklin's contributions as we know it ("Now . . . our newspapers are filled with illustrations"); the opposite page goes back in time to reveal the Franklin connection ("Ben . . . was the first to print a political cartoon in America"). Most young children won't grasp the play on the phrase now and then but will zero in instead on the well-chosen examples, which include bifocals and lightning rods as well as lesser-known notions (a rocking chair that churned butter!), all appealingly rendered in Barretta's relaxed, cartoonlike watercolors.

From Foreword Magazine’s 2004 Children’s Book of the Year Finalist Stephen Heigh comes the heartwarming story of The Snowman in the Moon. Beautifully illustrated, Snowman's panoramic outdoor scenes capture the interest and imagination of children of all ages and the inner child in all of us.The story center around a town that has longed for a big snowfall for years without seeing one. One night, as two children are gazing up at the moon wishing for it to snow, the Snowman in the Moon appears to them. They know at that moment something magical is about to happen. However, when they tell their friends and neighbors what they saw, no one believes them.But that evening the Snowman in the Moon visits Woodstream County and blankets the land with a beautiful soft snow. The town discovers the beauty and magic of this special snowfall."If you believe, all things are possible."

A distant howl echoes through the forest, and news quickly spreads that Wolf is coming! As the wolf gets closer and closer, animals run away as fast as they can. Soon the wolf's glowing eyes are peeking through the window, and then slowly, the front door opens...

But things are not as they seem in this suspenseful, clever story. It just might be the reader who's in for the biggest surprise of all!

From School Library Journal: Grade 1-3- This title focuses on one emperor penguin family's survival. The parents' care of their young is central, shown by deft yet perfunctory watercolors depicting a harsh, challenging habitat. The danger of the baby's starvation is emphasized; one adult must keep it protected from the elements and the other must fish for food and return in time to feed it before it dies. Trading places, the caregivers share these duties until the chick is old enough for both adult birds to hunt for food together. A summary of a penguin's life up to the laying of an egg is followed by a section that describes the egg laying and nesting patterns of kings, Ad lies, rockhoppers and little blues.

Barnes & Noble is not the only institution to provide educator discounts.

Borders Books has a 'Classroom Discount Card' that entitles the bearer to 20% off list price on books, music, and VHS for classroom use.

Staples has a 'Teacher Rewards' program and a teacher appreciation day late in the summer.

P.S. I did not win the raffle.


J. David Zacko-Smith said...

They should like you - teachers are IMPORTANT!

I hope you have fun in Mexico - I love it down there.

I have only been to Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallerta (sooo beautiful) - where are you headed?

Joy said...

I think your math is close... but isn't it actually "$100 worth of books at 25%" saves you 25 BILLION dollars?

I could be off. :)

I didn't know Joy Behar wrote a children's book! How cute is that! (You know I have a soft-spot for the name... and of course that I made HER laugh that time...)

Reya Mellicker said...

Have a wonderful time south of the border. You as "the teacher from New York" deserve it!!

marxsny said...

"Sheetzucacapoopoo", I know I don't need to explain why I'm amused.

Gary said...

Sheetzucacapoopoo: My Kind of Dog and Wolf's Coming have been HUGE hits! The kids made some amazing predictions and connected with some universal issues through these books. I am especially fond of Wolf's Coming and wish I had thought of getting a few more as gifts for the children in my family. Oh, well.


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