Sunday, October 30, 2011

Help Columbine book win Readers' Choice Award

Illinois high school students, teachers, parents, librarians and friends, you can help Columbine reach a wider audience in schools.

Columbine is a finalist for "The 2012 Abraham Lincoln Award: Illinois' High School Readers' Choice Award." Winners are chosen by students, and any Illinois high school student can vote.

Please consider voting and asking a student you know to vote. (Summary of how below.)

I have never lobbied for an award before, but here's why this one matters so much to me:

When the book launched, I was flooded with emails, but then soon after, Facebook started humming. It was students. Thousands of them were reading the book and sharing it. They said it felt real to them, like their life. It made them want to read.

That was the nicest thing I could have hoped to hear.

Teachers and librarians also became big supporters, because of the kids' response. They were reading by choice! And asking questions, wanting to learn more—wanting to learn. Music to a teacher's ears. And mine. They are thrilled at the way the kids are responding.

I had to give up touring to concentrate on my next book, but I've made exceptions for schools, because the impact is so powerful. (I know the kids electrify me.)

In the last two years, I have traveled to schools around the country and met with thousands of students, and skyped with hundreds more. In one week last month, I spoke to about 3,000 kids in four schools around Chicago. The enthusiasm has been overwhelming.

Hinsdale Central last month. More pix here and on Facebook.)

What's so invigorating is the way students are responding. They are excited about reading, asking, learning.

Students and teachers have become my prime focus. I created the Columbine Teacher's Guide and Student Guide—both free. I also created videos for students and class discussions, and do two free skype sessions per month with classes.

The Abe Lincoln Award will open the door