Dear Editor, The pandemic did not stop the Tri-County Reading Council!
Tri-County is led by Lacy Payne a Bridgman Literacy Specialist and Mary Cooper a 6th-Grade teacher at New Buffalo Middle School. Their partnership with New Buffalo Area Schools sought to bring author Marc Tyler Nobleman to Southwestern Michigan for a fun literary event. Back in the spring prior to the pandemic, the council booked an assembly for three local schools with a grant of $2,500 from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians a week prior to the event, all of our local schools closed their doors with the state-wide school closure. Cooper and Payne put the grant on hold and after trying to reschedule a face to face assembly, they finally decided to book a virtual event. On November 6, 2020, students in grades 1-6 from New Buffalo, Bridgman, and River Valley participated in a long-awaited assembly with Marc Tyler Nobleman. Nobleman is the author of “Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman” (which made the front page of USA Today) and “Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman” (which led to a TED Talk and changed pop culture history, inspiring Batman & Bill, the first documentary based on children's nonfiction). Marc has presented at elementary, middle, and high schools internationally (from Thailand to Tanzania) and blogs about adventures in publishing (from research victories to enthusiastic librarians).
Although the plan changed, students across the area, whether they were home because of temporary closure/quarantine or sitting in a classroom with their peers, logged on to Zoom for a fun hour of learning with Nobleman. One New Buffalo teacher shared, “Wonderful virtual presentation! Even from a distance, the author was able to connect and engage my class! It was great to be able to get to know an author/illustrator's "secrets" that you would NEVER know of otherwise! A huge THANK YOU to the Pokagon Fund, Tri-County Reading Council and others for arranging this fantastic opportunity!”
Nobleman ’s presentation told a tale of a real-life detective story. He revealed secrets he uncovered and mysteries he helped to solve while researching his nonfiction books on the creators of Superman and Batman.
A post event survey provided positive feedback for this event. One of the F.C. Reed Middle School teachers shared, “The opportunity to do something different was appreciated.”
Three Oaks elementary Principal Patrick Zuccala emailed, “Thank you for organizing the virtual author visit, it was very cool. The students were excited to meet Marc Nobleman and were intrigued by his stories and how much time and effort went into creating his works. Virtual visit was great! Definitely worth the time!”
A huge thank you to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Fund for this fantastic opportunity provided by their generosity. During these crazy times, their grant flexibility allowed for our students to still enjoy this experience and for a short while allowed our students to connect and feel somewhat normal again.
Dr. Jeffrey Leslie
New Buffalo Area Schools
Bridgman Public Schools
Scott Bojanich Superintendent
River Valley School District