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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Happy Birthday Mary Casanova

A Birthday Celebration at WSRA --
LtoR: Carolyn Horton, Carolyn Heitz, Diana Zrudskey, Mary Casanova, Sharron McElmeel
Mary Casanova is a renowned author; the other four are instructors in the
University of Wisconsin-Stout's Reading Certification Program
We (meaning Carolyn, Carolyn, Diana, and myself) went to the Wisconsin State Reading Association Convention held Feb 1-3 in Milwaukee, in search of more information about RtI (Response to Intervention) and its implications for reading/classroom teachers and in my case, how RtI impacted the use of literature in the classroom.
The RtI strand was focused on Friday the 3rd, so we arrived on the day before and made a quick trip to the conference to pick up our registration materials and make a brief tour of the exhibit hall.
How fortunate we were to literally run into my friend Mary Casanova -- Carolyn and I each purchased a book or two and asked Mary to autograph for grandchildren.  Later, Mary joined our group for dinner at the Chophouse (Hilton Downtown Milwaukee); and since it was Mary's birthday we made the evening into a birthday celebration -- thanks in part to the Chophouse's complimentary Happy Birthday dessert.

Loved having a few minutes to catch up on Mary's writing and to see her again.  But perhaps the most rewarding minutes came when I arrived home with my copy of The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town, with illustrations by Ard Hoyt (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2011).  Soon after I arrived home, my grandchildren (well their parents came too) from Sioux City arrived at the house, ages 11, 9, 7, 5 -- the three youngest are girls.  It was 10:30 p.m. or thereabouts, so the girls and I declared our lower level to be a "girls zone" and we settled into our beds with a cozy book to read aloud -- The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town.   Just take my word for it every librarian needs to have this book in their library.  Dirk Yeller is a classic reformed outlaw -- reformed by Miss Jenny and the town's library, with a little help from Sam who knew just the right place to send Dirk Yeller.
Mary has written several other picture books and is a very well know novelist.  Her books for older intermediate readers are great choices for those readers who have loved Gary Paulsen, Jim Kjelgaard, and other authors who offer adventure in the outdoors.  Check Mary's website for information about her other books.
Good times, Good Books.


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