Meeting Leah Henderson

I recall reading through the VSLA Conference program and circling “Speed Dating with Authors”. If you know me, you know I attended this session. I’m the one who buys the hardback of favorite YA authors the day their book comes out. I’m the one who attends book festivals to meet authors in person. I’m the one who uses the hashtag #AuthorsAreRockStars when tweeting about an author visiting my school. This session at the Virginia State Literacy Confernece in April drew me in.

During the 2nd round of “Speed Dating”, I sat down in one of the 8 chairs arranged in a circle and the author Leah Henderson was sitting next to a chair holding 5 books – 2 picture books, 2 novels and a nonfiction text about protest marches. As she spoke, sharing about each of her experience becoming a writer and about her books, I discovered she lived in DC. Right then, I knew I wanted her to visit my school.

Now in just 10 days, she will visit! To help prepare the students at my school, I made this SLIDEDECK. The students can choose one of her books on slide 2, click the cover and it takes them to another slide. There, they can listen to either me read-aloud the book or listen to a video I found of Leah reading the book. I added some discussion questions and a quick write prompt to each slide, too. I learned from my school librarian how to hyperlink slides, making the deck feel like a “Choose Your Own Adventure”. I can’t wait to start using this today with my students. And I really can’t wait until June 10th! What a perfect way to spend our last Friday together at school – an author visit with a local author. #AuthorsAreRockStars

NOTE: I have now read ALL her books and recommend ALL of them!! I finished One Shadow on the Wall this weekend and am so glad I got to meet Mor and his sisters and “travel” to Senegal. Add ALL her books to your Summer Reading pile! And feel free to use my slidedeck with your students, too!

7 thoughts on “Meeting Leah Henderson

    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      Not sure why it took me so long to teach myself how to create hyperlinks within a slidedeck. The kids love being in charge to choose their own adventure. And thanks to this author writing so many different kinds of story, they can choose just what they want to choose!


  1. Erika says:

    Ooooh, what a treasure trove this post is! I only own one of her books, but now see the error in my ways! June 24- that is the day I hope we can meet up and catch up- so much to learn from you!


  2. Trish says:

    So generous your sharing! I have used Black Enough with my eighth graders. They love them all, but always Jason Reynolds. I’ll be checking out (pun there) the others this summer.


  3. sallydonnelly11 says:

    I learned when meeting Leah that she attended the boarding school, Phillips Exeter. Then, when I read her short story in this anthology, I realized she was writing what she knew as the setting is a boarding school. Do check her story out!


  4. kimhaynesjohnson says:

    Oh, how I love this post! What an incredible experience you have had meeting her and bringing her to your school. I hear your passion and know that the students will catch your excitement and enthusiasm.


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