Monday, September 24, 2012

Bryan Chick Had a Secret for Me Hidden in The Secret Zoo

Last Tuesday one of the coolest things ever happened to me!  It definitely ranks as one of my highest honors in life!  Bryan Chick, the author of The Secret Zoo series, dedicated his fourth book in the series,  The Secret Zoo: Traps and Specters to me and my teams of third graders that have enjoyed the stories year after year!

I came home from work to find an envelope from Bryan.  I was expecting it, as he had asked for my address a couple days before.  I was excited to get it before it came out in stores.  (It comes out tomorrow...September 25!)  When I opened it, I saw a note bookmarked that read, "Jennifer See Here."  

I opened it up and screamed!  This is what I saw!

I immediately ran out my garage door, clutching the book in my hand.  My husband was painting the sign at our neighborhood's entrance, so I sprinted up the hill to tell him.  Yes...I sprinted and yes, my heart rate remained up for quite awhile after that.  I hadn't really digested what I had read, I only saw my name and immediately ran to share it with Brandon.  When I got to him, I read it aloud, and the tears flowed.  I was so touched that he would choose us to dedicate book 4 to!  I had one of those silly grins the entire night.  I knew that I wanted to share it with my past students, but I wasn't sure if it was allowed, since the book wasn't due to come out for a week.  I emailed Bryan to thank him, and he gave me the go ahead to let the students know.  

Luckily I had prep time during the 4th and 5th graders lunch and recess, so I asked all of my former students to come to my room.  As they walked down my hallway, I started to get emotional.  It was strange to see the hallway fill up with the little faces I have taught over the years.  I see them out and about in the hallways, but they are mixed in with others.  For some reason, this scene struck me more.  They entered my room noticing the changes in the set up and decor and curious why I had summoned them.  Once the majority of the kids were seated, I revealed the surprise.  The true joy was expressed when the kids saw me take the book out of a storage ottoman.  Their faces lit up and they cheered when they realized Book 4 had arrived!
I wanted to share the moment with Bryan Chick, so I had my iPad taping.  He enjoyed watching it, and said that it gives him the motivation to do what he does!  I can't wait to get all of my teams of students together and have a night where we celebrate The Secret Zoo and the honor that has been given to us!  Until then, I can't wait to read the book and continue the adventures!  By the way, Bryan says this is his favorite book thus far!

I highly encourage you to start the adventure with your students!  It is the best book series I have ever read to my students, as it provides action, adventure, themes of friendship, high level vocabulary, and wonderful author's craft in descriptions and character development!

I posted a blog post yesterday about the neat things we have done with The Secret Zoo over the years.  You can read about it here or just you can find it below this post!

Cheers to Bryan Chick and The Secret Zoo!