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625 7th Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601 #visitingwritersseries
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Award-winning Palestinian-American Poet, Writer, Anthologist, and Educator. 

The selected book for The Little Read is “The Turtle of Michigan.” The author, Naomi Shibab Nye is an acclaimed poet and National Book Award Winner. Nye also wrote "The Turtle of Oman," which was the featured book for The Little Read in April 2019. This book explores themes of moving, family, nature and immigration. The participating students begged Nye to tell them what happened to the little boy when he moved from Oman to Michigan. She obliged and wrote "The Turtle of Michigan" and dedicated it to the students in Alexander and Catawba counties.


10:30 a.m.
Doors open at P.E. Monroe Auditorium
Student art and literature from all four school districts are displayed in the lobby.
11 a.m.
The Little Read Awards
Student art and literature awards are presented by school district leaders, author Naomi Shihab Nye speaks about our Little Read book “The Turtle of Michigan” and teachers and media specialists from each district showcase their work.

11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Food Trucks
Three pay-as-you-go food trucks will be parked outside of P.E. Monroe Auditorium.
Theatre Production
Children’s theater production inspired by “The Turtle of Michigan” – all children and families are welcome and encouraged to attend.
1 p.m.
Book Signing
Naomi Shihab Nye available to sign copies of her books, which will be on sale in the lobby of P.E. Monroe Auditorium. 

Program History

The Little Read (TLR) began in 2006-2007 school year as a partnership between Ron and Sandra Deal and Lenoir-Rhyne University Visiting Writer Series to honor the life of Sara Catherine Deal Temple, a local elementary education reading specialist who loved children. That first-year TLR reached 4th and 5th grade students in the Hickory City Public School System. In the 2007-2008 school year, the Catawba County School System and Newton-Conover City Schools joined. In the 2010-2012 school year, the Alexander County School System joined.

The goal of The Little Read is to support and encourage elementary literacy development by providing meaningful interaction with a nationally-recognized children’s author during a spring residency and to provide a collaboratively developed multi-disciplinary curriculum for the selected book and grade level.

The interaction with the author, hands-on explorations across academic subjects, reflections through writing and art, and seeing the book come alive in a play make this literary experience unique and transformative. Most importantly, The Little Read puts the selected book into the students’ hands. For some of these students, this is the first or only book that they have owned. In the fall semester, the Lenoir-Ryne University School of Education faculty and students work with school districts' educators to create curricula materials designed for the selected book and grade level. LR PlayMakers script a play adapted from the selected book. LR Lineberger Fellow students plan the Family Festival.

Educators teach the multi-disciplinary curricula. Students create compositions and artwork reflecting on the book. In the final week of the program, April 17-22, over 1,200 fifth-graders in Hickory City Schools, Catawba County Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, and Alexander County Schools will travel to the Lenoir-Rhyne campus to engage with the author, see the live-action performance of the adapted play, be recognized on stage for their art and writing reflections, and enjoy book-themed activities with their families at the festival.

Later, educators from each school system present a reflection to fellow teachers and the LR Education Department on how the curricula worked in the classroom and how students reacted to the book, the play and the author interaction.

Learn more about about Naomi Shibab Nye.

  • Gabriel Morse

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