Author and illustrator Susan Stockdale of Chevy Chase recently visited Wheaton Woods Elementary School to share her book “Stripes of All Types” with first-graders.
Her visit was organized through An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that brings award-winning authors and illustrators to schools for book readings, workshops and art projects with students. Kids also received a book to take home with them, provided by the National Home Library Foundation.
Stockdale read the book aloud to the 85 students and discussed researching, writing and illustrating it. The book explains how different animals benefit from their stripes.
Stockdale’s books have won awards from the American Library Association, Parents’ Choice, the National Science Teachers Association and the Bank Street College of Education, according to her website.
“She talked with them about the rhythms of words ... how she chose which words to use,” said Dara La Porte of Chevy Chase, co-founder of the foundation.
La Porte said that at these events — the foundation has organized more than 150 since 2011 — children often receive the first book they’ve ever owned. With the help of partner organizations, they’ve given away 15,000 books to students.
“Once the children have made this connection with the book, they’re desperate to read the book,” La Porte said.
La Porte had been the manager of the children’s department at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington when she and foundation co-founder Heidi Powell of Bethesda, now a manager at the store, came up with the idea. They saw many children from wealthy neighboring schools visit the store for events and wanted to bring the authors and books to other children. At least half of students at schools that participate in the program must qualify for free or reduced lunch. The foundation brings authors to schools throughout the Washington region.