For the latest on our 2020-21 in-person and remote learning planning, we invite you to Read More
English
Español
¿Por qué no se ha traducido esta página?

Search Staff DirectoryBúsqueda en el Directorio del Personal

CCSD59.org

Author Alan Gratz Brings His Stories to Grove

Much-loved Writer Speaks to Students About Loving What You Do

English|Español|Polski

Of all the many ways to get students interested in literacy – whether it is picking up a book or reading or writing a story themselves – perhaps one of the most effective is bringing in a much-loved author for a visit. Many authors have spoken in CCSD59’s classrooms, and recently Grove Junior High had the opportunity to participate in this exciting experience.

On April 19, New York Times best-selling author Alan Gratz visited Grove’s students. Gratz has written many highly regarded youth fiction novels, such as Ban This Book, Refugee, Projekt 1065, and many others which feature children and young adults as the hero of the stories. Many of his stories are also historical fiction, so students can also learn a great deal about history and culture by picking up his books.

According to Grove’s Learning Resource Center Director and organizer of the event, Sofía Huitrón, Gratz was selected for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones was his books are very well circulated in Grove’s library. “Alan’s books in particular touch on very important topics such as the Holocaust, refugees/immigration, and censorship,” she said. “These are topics that are so relevant for our students because they are tied to real life, real events, things that our students can connect to.”

Gratz also has a good deal of experience working with children, teaching writing skills to them and presenting to young audiences. According to his website, Gratz, who is himself a former English teacher, loves to present his books, and “knows how to keep things relevant and entertaining, and, perhaps more importantly, how to out-smart-aleck the smart alecks.”

Alan Sign SqHe spent much of the day at Grove, presenting three times to the three grade levels, and also participated in a staff meet-and-greet and student luncheon. While having pizza with the kids, Gratz good-naturedly shared his stories and humor about the writing process, books, and being a famous author. He answered a wide variety of questions: how he came up with ideas for his books, how he chose names for his characters, if he has “easter eggs” (hidden phrases or inside jokes with his audience) in all his books (he does in most), what he himself likes to read and would recommend, and many more. He jokingly spoke about trying to get his own daughter to read his books and then bemoaned that she finally agreed to do so when “her friend recommended them and told her to.”

During his presentation, Gratz allowed his audience to choose what direction it went, which he called “choose your own presentation.” As a child, he enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, where the reader got to select the direction of the story by being offered a variety of choices, so he incorporated that theme into his presentation. For example, as an ice breaker at the start of his presentation, the students could vote to either hear a story that illustrated that Gratz was “very terrible at baseball” or “very terrible at soccer.” (The students almost overwhelmingly chose the soccer story).

Gratz sprinkled humor and fun into his presentation, which was quite a feat when discussing not only the importance of literacy, but serious topics covered in his books. Topics he spoke about included the Holocaust, the historical significance of World War II, having courage to stand up against things that are wrong, helping others in times of great difficulty, and many other current social issues of relevance. “The students learned about some of the things that happened during WWII, including the real story of a Holocaust survivor, and about some of the issues that refugees are faced with,” said Huitrón. “They also learned that it’s not just something that happened a long time ago, but something that is still happening today.”

Huitrón said even reluctant writers and readers could learn something from Gratz’s presentation, including how to follow their dreams and passions and make it into a lifelong career. She said Gratz’s interactions with students and staff energized the entire day.

“Alan Gratz has set the bar pretty high for author visits,” she said. “He was just amazing with the students and staff, so accessible and down to earth. We loved having him at Grove.”

Alan 1

  • winter weather cover 2021
    2021 Winter Weather GuidelinesPautas para el clima invernal

    2021 Winter Weather GuidelinesPautas para el clima invernal

    With winter weather now upon us, CCSD59 would like to update you on our plans related to inclement weather days, decisions that contribute to closing…Con el clima invernal ahora sobre nosotros, CCSD59 quisiera actualizarle sobre nuestros planes relacionados con los días de clima inclemente, las decisiones que contribuyen al…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • dl night cover
    Spanish Two-Way Dual Language Program Virtual Parent Information NightNoche de información virtual para padres del programa de lenguaje dual en español

    Spanish Two-Way Dual Language Program Virtual Parent Information NightNoche de información virtual para padres del programa de lenguaje dual en español

    If you would like to hear more about the opportunities and benefits of the Spanish Two-way Dual Language Program in CCSD59, and you have an…Si tiene un estudiante que ingresará al kindergarten y desea enterarse de las oportunidades y los beneficios del Programa de Lenguaje Dual Bidireccional en español…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • community support story cover
    CCSD59 Communities Show Strength in Generosity During PandemicLas comunidades de CCSD59 muestran fortaleza en generosidad durante la pandemia

    CCSD59 Communities Show Strength in Generosity During PandemicLas comunidades de CCSD59 muestran fortaleza en generosidad durante la pandemia

    The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for millions of people across the country and altered lifestyles around the world. As students and families in CCSD59…La pandemia de COVID-19 ha presentado desafíos para millones de personas en todo el país y estilos de vida alterados en todo el mundo. A…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • Grove Courtyard Cover 2
    Grove Expands Courtyard Dedication to Honor District FamilyGrove expande la dedicación del patio para honrar a la familia del distrito

    Grove Expands Courtyard Dedication to Honor District FamilyGrove expande la dedicación del patio para honrar a la familia del distrito

    Having 65 years worth of service to a school district in a single family is a remarkable feat. Several members of the CCSD59 administration feel…Tener 65 años de servicio en un distrito escolar en una sola familia es una hazaña notable. Varios miembros de la administración de CCSD59 sienten…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • Park Thumb
    CCSD59, Elk Grove High School Communities Collaborate for New Playground at Oasis Mobile Home ParkLas comunidades de Elk Grove High School CCSD59 colaboran para una nueva área de juegos en Oasis Mobile Home Park

    CCSD59, Elk Grove High School Communities Collaborate for New Playground at Oasis Mobile Home ParkLas comunidades de Elk Grove High School CCSD59 colaboran para una nueva área de juegos en Oasis Mobile Home Park

    Ricky Castro has carried the desire to build a park and playground at the Oasis Mobile Home Park for years. Residents of the park, including…Ricky Castro ha llevado el deseo de construir un parque y un área de juegos en Oasis Mobile Home Park durante años. Los residentes del…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • sparks cover
    John Jay students turn homes into science labs with new programLos estudiantes de John Jay convierten sus hogares en laboratorios de ciencias con nuevo programa

    John Jay students turn homes into science labs with new programLos estudiantes de John Jay convierten sus hogares en laboratorios de ciencias con nuevo programa

    Science is naturally a hands-on subject, but students at John Jay Elementary are taking it to another level this year. They have been able to…La ciencia es, naturalmente, una materia práctica, pero los estudiantes de John Jay Elementary la llevarán a otro nivel este año. Han podido ver cómo…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • twe cover
    ISBE recognizes CCSD59 through Those Who Excel AwardsISBE reconoce CCSD59 a través de los premios Those Who Excel

    ISBE recognizes CCSD59 through Those Who Excel AwardsISBE reconoce CCSD59 a través de los premios Those Who Excel

    CCSD59 constantly seeks out ways to provide our students, families, and community with the best educational experience possible. This year, staff members were once again…CCSD59 busca constantemente formas de brindar a nuestros estudiantes, familias y comunidad la mejor experiencia educativa posible. Este año, los miembros del personal fueron seleccionados…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • Veronica Story Cover
    ISBE Honors Veronica Rodriguez, Juliette Low, as Illinois Bilingual Teacher of the YearISBE honra a Veronica Rodriguez, Juliette Low, como maestra bilingüe del año de Illinois

    ISBE Honors Veronica Rodriguez, Juliette Low, as Illinois Bilingual Teacher of the YearISBE honra a Veronica Rodriguez, Juliette Low, como maestra bilingüe del año de Illinois

    Veronica Rodriguez carries the mindset that one educator can change the trajectory of a child’s life. She experienced that as a young student, and that…Verónica Rodríguez tiene la mentalidad de que un educador puede cambiar la trayectoria de la vida de un niño. Ella experimentó eso cuando era una…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • inspra cover
    CCSD59 Communications Department Honored by INSPRAEl Departamento de Comunicaciones de CCSD59 honrado por INSPRA

    CCSD59 Communications Department Honored by INSPRAEl Departamento de Comunicaciones de CCSD59 honrado por INSPRA

    The CCSD59 Communications Department has been recognized by the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) as part of its annual Communications…El Departamento de Comunicaciones de CCSD59 ha sido reconocido por Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA, por sus siglas en inglés)…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • Good News Cover
    Students Earn Reporting Tips, Learn to Find Good News in Summer CourseLos estudiantes obtienen consejos para informar, aprenden a encontrar buenas noticias en el curso de verano

    Students Earn Reporting Tips, Learn to Find Good News in Summer CourseLos estudiantes obtienen consejos para informar, aprenden a encontrar buenas noticias en el curso de verano

    Joy is all around you, and if you try hard, you can find a lot of it. That is the sentiment of Yukthi, a fifth…La alegría está a tu alrededor, y si te esfuerzas, puedes encontrar un montón. Ese es el sentimiento de Yukthi, un estudiante de quinto grado…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • BoardUpdateThumb 5
    CCSD59 Awarded Certificate of Financial Excellence for 37th Consecutive YearCCSD59 recibió el certificado de excelencia financiera por 37 año consecutivo

    CCSD59 Awarded Certificate of Financial Excellence for 37th Consecutive YearCCSD59 recibió el certificado de excelencia financiera por 37 año consecutivo

    CCSD59 has been awarded with the FY 2019 Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award (COE) from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO).…CCSD59 recibió el certificado de excelencia en el informe de información financiera (COE, por sus siglas en inglés) del año fiscal 2019 de la Asociación…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo
  • success for live story cover
    CCSD59 Alumnus, Illinois Deputy Majority Leader Become Inaugural Award RecipientsExalumno CCSD59, Líder adjunto de la mayoría de Illinois se convierten en ganadores del premio inaugural

    CCSD59 Alumnus, Illinois Deputy Majority Leader Become Inaugural Award RecipientsExalumno CCSD59, Líder adjunto de la mayoría de Illinois se convierten en ganadores del premio inaugural

    From an early age, Daniel Salgado-Avarez has been drawn to libraries. He has never shied away from reading two or three books per day, because…Desde una edad temprana, Daniel Salgado-Alvarez fue atraído a las bibliotecas. Nunca ha evitado leer dos o tres libros por día, porque eso es lo…

    Continue ReadingSiga Leyendo