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La Jolla, California

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Posted on May 22, 2014

Community Relationships: Getting to Know Your Neighbors

It is wonderful to have a bookstore nearly right around the corner. For us, it’s Warwick’s, which came to the Village in 1939. This year, we had a particularly symbiotic relationship as our children have increased their love of reading and have been inspired by visiting authors.

Early in the fall, a small group of upper elementary students were invited to the store to hear from Jeff Kinney about his recently published Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck—even if it was a 7:30 a.m. call to mobilize.

Mid-May, one of our kindergarten classes walked down to Warwick’s to hear from Anna Dewdney (of Llama Llama Red Pajama fame) about the importance of capturing “small moments,” a term that our own students use as they journal in class. The children were impressed that Ms. Dewdney could extend that moment into 32 or 40 pages of writing and illustrations. One child asked, “How many ‘sloppy copies’ do you have to write for a book?” Ms. Dewdney’s response was, “Over a thousand.”  That number knocked their socks off!

Yesterday in our gym, Peter Lerangis spoke to our own Grades 4-6 students as well as La Jolla Elementary School Grade 5 students about the process of writing. He also emphasized the qualities of tenacity and patience. One Gillispie fifth grader will remember this: “You have this good idea, you write it down, you read what you wrote and it’s garbage. So you delete it, and you keep going.” And in terms of dealing with the negative self-talk, one of our fifth graders will keep in mind Mr. Lerangis’ advice, “There’s a voice in your head that says things are bad. Ignore that.”

Our thanks goes to Warwick’s. When you have a gem of a bookstore just a stone’s throw away from a school, all sorts of inspiration and connection to literature and writing can and will occur.

Alison Fleming Head of School

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