Crystal Falls, Mich. (WZMQ) – Forest Park School in Iron County has an entire month of reading activities planned for students, but a reading outreach for grades 1-3 was at the top of school staff’s priorities. A U.P. Notable Books Award-winning children’s book writer, Dorothy Paad, was at the school yesterday and read her book, Dance Your Dance, Sing Your Song to the children.
She gave a question-and-answer session for each of the grades after the reading to talk about her books, or her life, or whatever the students were interested in talking about. And every class had plenty of hands up in the air.
“When I was growing up, there were no books with characters in wheelchairs. And I often wondered, where am I? Inclusion and diversity needs to be promoted. When a school brings someone like myself in, to be not only a role model, but it says something about the school,” the author commented.
The visit left many students, teachers, and staff feeling inspired. Third-grader Emily Jacobson, who was given copies of Dorothy Paad’s signed books, and took a moment to chat with the author after the event, commented.
“They inspire me to do a lot of stuff like ballet, and skiing and stuff. And that I can do whatever my heart inspires me to do. You can do anything that you want, and that, like if there’s bullies just ignore the bullies and go to your friends and stuff,” said Emily. Paad talked to Emily about the Moving Mountains Adaptive Ski Program, which is the theme of Paad’s second book. The author even told Emily that if Emily decides she wants to try adaptive skiing, she would be there to cheer her on.
“We both like pink and purple, and that she’s in a wheelchair like me. She likes to write books and she first did ballet. And now she’s working on her third book,” Emily added.
Paad said the experience of giving back inside the classrooms meant a lot to her.
“I could cry, honestly, because Emily is a good example of why I do this. She’s probably the best example I’ve come across so far. I’ve been fortunate to meet many children in various circumstances. But I have to say there was something special about Emily. When I saw her, she reminds me a lot of myself in third grade. I had the pink wheelchair, and just that child’s innocence. It meant a lot. I was looking at all the children but as I was reading I was looking at her going ‘I wonder what impact this is having’ and thinking about if when I was that age – if I had seen a young lady such as myself come into my school, what impact that would have had on me. And hopefully what that does for her. And to have her say something to the effect of ‘because of Dorothy I know I can do anything,’ That literally had me choked up and I was trying not to cry,” Paad reflected.
“All different circumstances and dynamics need to be represented and included,” the author added.
The school updated that they plan to invite her to come back and read to three more grades.
For more information about the author, or for those interested in inviting her to read to a classroom, visit: