A Fully Booked School Year: Thank You Authors & Educators!

From Watson to Applegate, 30 children authors share their books with students in the Denver area during the year of COVID.

This past school year, BookBar has had the honor of hosting 30 of the best (really, the best of the best) authors, bringing them virtually to 99 schools and classrooms throughout the metro area. Schools have had an extremely difficult year with the pandemic, teaching virtually, hybrid, and in-person, completing the challenge with rounds of quarantine. Teachers and authors became our heroes this year as we all joined together to give our young readers the gift of reading, inspiration, motivation, joy, and even a little bit of normalcy. A huge thank you to the publishers who provided these opportunities. 

Oh, what a wonderful year it has been! In order of appearance…

Renée Watson’s book was the perfect bright spot to start the school year. Ways to Make Sunshine showed us that the simplest of stories are really the most extraordinary. How lucky we are that Renée is delivering us more of this wonderful series. 

Sherri Duskey Rinker could easily engage even the youngest of readers. She shared her newest Construction Site Mission:  Demolition and her first middle grade novel, Revver the Speedway Squirrel. She returned virtually a few months later with It’s So Quiet.

Lindsay Lackey proved All the Impossible Things are really not impossible. Just look at the bumblebees.

James Ponti shared City Spies on Good Morning America and then with us. Fifth graders could get enough. Luckily, there are more in the City Spies series coming. 

Shawna Railey taught us The Messy Life of Blue can be messy, and funny, and filled with the love of family and friends.

Caldecott illustrator Sophie Blackall shared her masterpiece If You Come to Earth. Children instinctively knew this was a book to read and reread and study each and every picture.

Adam Rex made the students laugh with his latest, On Account of the Gum. And we all needed to laugh! It felt so good, again.

Claudia Mills, the Beverly Cleary of today’s generation, proved that when technology doesn’t cooperate, just good old fashioned teaching and talking does just the trick, and is even better! Students fell in love with Vera Vance, Lucy Lopez, and Nixie Ness.

Beth Anderson introduced the students about someone we should all know, “Smelly” Kelly and His Super Senses. Biographies can be extremely fun to read.

Ben Clanton captivated the students with Narwhal and Jelly drawings and got us all ready for the Happy Narwhalidays!

The charming Amy Timberlake introduced her characters Skunk and Badger to the school children. Skunk and Badger are latest Odd Couple.

Laura Resau virtually met with the students at one school after the whole school had to go back to remote learning. The entire student body had listened to her Tree of Dreams as teachers read it aloud before winter break.

Powerhouse sisters Eunice and Sabrina Moyle shared their newest collaboration, I Believe in You. All their books are immediately inspirational and fun to read and reread, again.

Debut local author, Megan E. Freeman, made even the most reluctant readers finish her compelling novel in verse, Alone. Don’t start this one before bed–it’s too hard to put down.

Melissa Savage celebrated her fourth book’s birthday, Karma Moon, which takes place at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Students learned about mantras and that “woo-woo isn’t cuckoo and without you’ll have bad ju ju.”

Father and son Matthew and Steve Murrie shared their nonfiction book, The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names, including an animal trivia quiz. Yes, wombats do poop square.

LeUyen Pham mesmerized thousands of students with her picture book, Outside, Inside. This book is all about our year of COVID and should be on EVERY bookshelf. It truly is a masterpiece, simple but powerful.

Judy Gilliam read her Florence and Her Fantastic Family Tree, then helped the young readers create their own family trees and confirmed that every tree is messy and complicated.

Karen Kane, author of Charlie and Frog taught her audience of fifth graders sign language as she shared her two books.

Charise Mericle Harper brought laughter to the students with her graphic novel, So Embarrassing: Awkward Moments and How to Get Through Them. This book is NOT awkward at all. Fun fact: virtual author visits can get canceled, too, because of snow days.

Ally Carter enchanted students with her words of wisdom and shared her newest series, Winterbourne Home for Mayhem and Mystery and Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor.

Another nonfiction book by Hans Aschim taught kids How to Go Anywhere (And Not Get Lost). Hans wrote this book after getting lost in Hawaii.

Michael Long explained the when and why to kids about the importance of changing the world by giving the young readers historic examples of Kids on the March and the difference it truly makes.

Author Annie Barrows and illustrator Sophie Blackall share book number 12 of the Ivy and Bean series. Unfortunately, this is the last book in the series, but Annie and Sophie taught the kids about treasure hunting and finding unique items everywhere. Cheers to these two ladies for making children around the world into readers!

Andrea Wang taught the students about writing memoirs with her lovely story Watercress. The children were enthralled with her story about growing up.

What Would You Do in a Book About YOU? Jean Reidy reinforced to the kids that their stories are theirs to write, and inspired them to dream big!

Elizabeth Eulberg joined from England to share her new book, The Best Worst Summer, and challenged the kids to create a time capsule this summer and open it up in the future. What would you add to a capsule from this pandemic year?

The Les Paul Foundation gifted 512 second graders with the book Guitar Genius and virtual visits from author Kim Tomsic.

Lauren Myracle met with an entire school after they all read Upside Down Magic. She shared how three authors came together to write the series.

And there is no one better in the world to end the school year with than the lovely Katherine Applegate. She met with two schools who all read The One and Only Ivan. Katherine is sharing the screen with her dog, the inspiration for Bob.

Thank you again to all the authors, illustrators, educators, and children we were able to share these incredible moments with. As always, stay tuned for more children’s events here at BookBar!