I love our school for so many reasons. The kids, the faculty, the parents, the staff…it’s truly an amazing community. I could go on and on about it…which is actually the reason I started a blog about it.
One of the things I love about our community is that we are dedicated to literature and the fine arts as an integrated part of students’ experience. One way we accomplish this is that each year, a group of parents and teachers put their heads together to determine which author we would invite to join us and this year they chose Lisa Yee.
What a fantastic decision! I was impressed by her ability to share her story with finesse and energy and humor and engage such a wide range of students from kindergarten through eighth grade. She was lively and captivating and absolutely hilarious!
It occurred to me, as she spoke, that what was so refreshing about her presentation was that she spoke her truth. She didn’t talk down to the kids and she appeared to get as much a kick out of her stories as the students.
It was great to learn her strategies for writing. “Barf on a page” will never have the same meaning for us! And to hear her journey of writing that included so many interesting experiences and allowed her to eventually find her tribe and her place as a writer and author.
At the evening event, Lisa asked me to join her on stage as we read a section of her book “Millicent Min: Girl Genius”. For those of you familiar with the book, it was the library scene where Stanford Wong and Millicent meet up for their first tutoring session… Always happy to help out I jumped at the chance. Little did I realize what I was getting into!
She read. I had a line or two, but she had me act the scene out and…well…it was hilarious! The whole thing brought me to tears. I just couldn’t stop laughing*, which is saying something considering my mouth was full most of the time. I’m sure that amidst the laughter, we grossed out a few people, but isn’t evoking emotion an important role in communication? In writing? Lisa really has this down!
The Common Core places a heavy emphasis on nonfiction literature and it has an important place in our world. But as we explore the world, I tend to agree with Einstein and hope that we can all be “enough of an artist to draw freely upon…[our] imagination[s].” During his 1929 interview with George Viereck, Al reminded us all that “… Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” If imagination truly encircles the world, shouldn’t we provide our students with the ability to ask deep, meaningful questions and to see beyond the known world and into the realm possibilities?
What better way to do this than to embrace all forms of literature, encourage our students to explore their interests, provide them with the tools they need to make their dreams and designs into reality, and connect our community with wonderful individuals who model excellence and staying true to themselves, like Lisa, who share their story and their craft with us all.
If you would like to know more about Lisa or her books check them out here: http://lisayee.com
Last but not least, thank you Lisa for your energy, candor, for speaking your truth, and sharing your story with us! Thank you for making us laugh and truly appreciate writing in a new way. You are always welcome back at McAuliffe!
*If you or one of your friends videotaped that moment, PLEASE send me a copy! I’m willing to post it here.