"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Author Visit: Elly Swartz: Finding Perfect

My fortunate fifth graders were the recipients of a visit from Elly Swartz, author of Finding Perfect. It was a fantabulous visit. I know this because I watched the reaction of the students and teachers. I know this also because the fifth graders and their teachers are still talking about it a week later.

There are two specific things that made this visit remarkable. One is Elly's connection with students. Her passion and enthusiasm for writing and specifically writing characters from the heart was authentic and moving. 
The second reason is the subject matter of Finding Perfect. Elly's approach to talking about Molly, the protagonist who is struggling with undiagnosed OCD, allowed the students to hear and relate to Molly and develop empathy and understanding for her story. 

Have a look and a listen:

Just as Molly discovers that she is more than this one thing, Elly wants readers to know that about themselves. She shared Unfolding Identity Project, a project she has developed that helps readers understand themselves as complex creatures and therefore look at others the same way. When asked to share what resonated with them after the visit, the students recalled Elly's words, "you are more than one thing." Those are pretty powerful words to carry with you. 

Thank goodness Elly donated another copy to our library!

Here's an excerpt from Finding Perfect

To Molly Nathans, perfect is:
The number four
The tip of a newly sharpened number two pencil
A crisp, white pad of paper
Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines
What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Slam Poetry Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with table cloths. Molly’s sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?

But as time goes on, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly’s world from spinning out of control.

Along with donating a book to the library, Elly brought some seriously cool book swag with her. The students are tasked with learning why these items and those portrayed on the cover are important to Molly. They are excited to find out!

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