Guest post today! Please help me welcome dear friend and awesome mami, Bea Zimmermann Lianos to MFBS! Bea and I both had our first little guys in Tokyo within months of each other. She was my first Mami friend abroad. She is currently living her 10th year overseas.
Last month, my children, who attend an international school in the Baltics, enjoyed the magical adventure that our school calls Book Week! Book Week is a wonderful event that encourages a love for books and storytelling by creating many different learning experiences centered around reading.
Book Week begins even before the students arrive for school on Monday, since the dedicated teachers spend the weekend decorating for the event. This year the library was transformed into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the famous Harry Potter series. The entire Preschool was transformed into a forest, complete with real tree branches on the walls and fall leaves covering the hall floors. The music room became a stage where students were encouraged to let out their inner rock stars. Each classroom becomes a new location or place in time and even the administrative office decorates!
Book Week takes place in October coinciding with Halloween, and the first day starts off with costumes! Each student dresses up as their favorite book character and comes to school in costume, bringing along the book of choice to share with the class. Teachers take their costumes very seriously as well, and in the morning there is an assembly and performance by the teachers followed by the costume parade where parents take lots of pictures.
During the week, every student drafts their own story or retells their favorite tale in a book written and illustrated by them. The little ones glue, color, and write text for their creations while the Middle School students design their very own graphic novels. The diverse activities really engage students of all ages and families are also encouraged to participate. Parents of the Primary School are invited to read to their child’s class. I was able to read to my daughter’s Preschool 2 class but all the time slots for my son’s Grade 1 class were taken! To encourage the Upper School kids to read biographies, the IT teachers made a funny video impersonating Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Thursday is the Sleepover with over 100 students and teachers spending the night and bonding over more activities. The highlight of the day is the 24-hour Readathon. Students and teachers take turns reading out loud in the library continuously for a full 24 hours until the next morning. On Friday afternoon each child is given a balloon to release into the air. The balloons represent each child’s love of reading, a joy that we wish to pass on to others and to share with the rest of the world.
My son Ulysses, 6, dressed up as the ancient hero, Odysseus, from Greek mythology. My daughter Violeta, 4, dressed up as Ladybug Girl from the series by the same name. And if I had to dress up as my favorite childhood book character? I would be Claudia Kincaid in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!
Who would you be?