award-winning author and illustrator
SCHOOL VISITS: K - 4
Miri shares with her audience some of the exciting and amusing moments she experienced during the process of creating her books, focusing on the subject of wildlife. Miri's presentation includes a slide show, showing pictures from her research, such as her visits inside the cages of sand foxes and river otters; swimming with dolphins and more. Miri presents real sketches and illustrations, and ends the visit by making a live drawing in front of the audience, which remains as a souvenir for school.
Year(s) of participation: 2014, 2016
A4ED school visit photos & blurbs:
The Ariel Sharon Green School in Hod-Hasharon, Israel
MIRI CONNECTS WITH STUDENTS AT ARIEL SHARON GREEN SCHOOL
What could be better than doing my yearly A4ED event in the Ariel Sharon Green school?
This Green Elementary School in Hod Hasharon, Israel, is a school dedicated to the environment and aims to educate its students on subjects such as sustainability, recycling and nature preservation.
When Tsvia Hemo, the Green school's culture events coordinator, invited me for a school visit, I immediately offered her to turn this visit into an Authors for Earthday event. Tsvia, together with Merav Mazor, the school principal, loved the idea and we started planning the event.
I decided to choose this year 5 organizations who support endangered species of wild animals. The 3rd graders started to research about the organizations and the animals more than a month before my visit. The animals they learned about were: gorillas, whales & dolphins, pandas, river otters and wild parrots. I thought the choice was going to be very hard. But when the time came to vote, I was surprised by the results. 82% of the students in 4 classes chose one organization, leaving 18% to be divided almost equally between the other four organizations. Can you guess what was their choice?
So, the winner was: Pandas International!. The winning organization will receive a donation from me, 50% of my honorarium. The donation will be sent in the name of the Green school's students.
I asked the students to share about how they reached their decision. The kids' answers were very interesting. Some of them told about personal experiences which helped them make their choice: A girl who was fascinated when she watched gorillas at the zoo; or a boy who went swimming with dolphins. Others pointed facts they learned during their research like the fact that there are less than 3,000 pandas left in the wild today. Other kids shared a bit less serious reasons for their choice, for example the irresistible cuteness of the pandas. But the last girl who spoke said something different. She said she chose the pandas, but could have easily chosen any other one of the five organizations, and she wished she could support all of them. This was such a moving moment, everybody was silent and I could sense how they all got it. That this event, with all the excitement of the voting, is not about competition, but it is about one goal—supporting nature and wild animals.
I want to thank the wonderful teachers for their cooperation, Eti the librarian for her help during the sessions and for taking the photos. And of course—I want to thank the enthusiastic students for an exciting, inspiring day full of love for nature and our earth. This event announcement was also posted on the Pandas International Blog.
Naomi Shemer Elementary School in Tel-Aviv, Israel
MIRI EMPOWERS YOUNG READERS AT NAOMI
I came back home very excited after my first Authors for Earth Day event.
My school visit was in Neomi Shemer elementary school in Tel-Aviv and it was the first A4ED event in Israel!
About a month before the event I spoke with Haya Oren, the wonderful school librarian, who was going to teach the kids about the organizations I chose. She was very enthusiastic but also had some concerns. Mrs. Oren was worried that the young 2nd graders may not be interested in a topic like environmental organizations. But later on, after she begun to teach the subject in the classes, she was happy to discover how excited the young students were - listening, learning and caring.
At last, the big day has arrived. The kids welcomed me to their school with shining eyes. The schools' corridors were decorated with a moving display of artworks, made by the 2nd grade students especially for this day, describing wild animals in nature.
During the three programs I gave on that day, I felt that the atmosphere was different than usual. Beyond the excitement I usually encounter, there was an extra-special vibe and a feeling of intimacy between the kids and myself on that day.
Was it their joy for the right they were given to vote and make an impact?
Was it the feeling they were a part of a unique international project?
Or was it the meaningful introduction they had with the 5 organizations, which made this almost-abstract subject of 'saving the planet' into something real and practical?
Whatever reason it was, I know these kids came out of this day with some added value and with the understanding that each and every one of them can contribute to saving the earth and the wild animals.
The winning organization was Anonymous.
I was honored to be the first Israeli representative of this beautiful international project. I hope other Israeli authors would join me in the future, to bring this wonderful experience to many more students in this part of the world.