March 16, 2009
To whom it may concern:
On February 27, I was delighted to have Caroll Simpson introduce The First Beaver to my third grade students. Not only did we enjoy this wonderful northwest native legend, but we were mesmerized by the handmade artifacts she had created to enhance her presentation. They included a northwest native button blanket depicting The First Beaver, numerous cradleboards (Third Mothers), and hand-stitched authentic native dolls. She had also created a power point presentation of her book. After describing the story and artifacts, she led fifty students through an extraordinary project. After explaining several animal clans, she invited the students to select a clan for their project. The students then joined as clans, sitting together. They colored and assembled beautifully designed crests from the prepackaged materials prepared by Ms. Simpson. After assembling headband crests, the students “made” living totem poles, using animals from several different clans. Each “totem pole” was then instructed to write its own unique legend. Students’ enthusiasm for this project was amazing! From there they went off running, writing with greater engagement than I have seen with any writing project in years. Caroll’s positive interaction with students was not only unusual, but energizing. More than fifty students, many with attention problems, packed into a 25 student classroom, couldn’t have been more engaged in her project!
Without any hesitation I highly recommend Caroll Simpson for any Meet the Author or Young Authors program. Besides being one of the most creative people working with children I have met in thirty-one years of teaching, her topic is culturally significant. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are always enriched by the variety of writers and artists who further our cultural understanding of those who were here before us. Her book, with its beautiful illustrations and decorative borders, is a storehouse of information and an excellent springboard for children’s writing.
I am thankful to Caroll Simpson for giving us this unique and invigorating opportunity.
Third Grade Teacher