StanĀ and I did several visits last week, including our first full-day visit at Benjamin Franklin Intermediate School in Daly City. We did five presentations in a row, to their entire middle school (around 700 kids). And these students were amazing. So engaged, attentive, asking questions afterwards. Their librarian, Justine Kay, did so much to prepare the kids and the teachers for the day. We were in awe and appreciation by the end. Here’s what Justine wrote:

“A copy of the nonfiction book, Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, was placed in my mailbox in the main office at Ben Franklin Intermediate School in October 2017 and there was no telling who had put it there. A free book!, I thought. So I cataloged it and put it in our school library for students to check out. The book sat lonely in the stacks of 300’s, barely seen for a month. Meanwhile, I was working on coordinating my first author visit as a new librarian at our school. I searched online for local authors who could come speak at our school and found the Fighting for Justice site. I thought, this would be a great first visit since the authors have visited other schools in the area and our ELA teachers are pushing students to read more nonfiction to prepare for the state tests. After contacting the authors, Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, I read the book and was inspired by Fred’s story. I wanted for all our middle school students to learn about Fred’s lifelong fight for justice through activism. After speaking with my principal and receiving his approval of the visit, we began making headway. All ELA teachers were checked out a copy of the book from the library and students started reading and discussing the book together as a class. Students were captivated by Fred’s life and experiences growing up in the Bay Area, just like them, but 50 years ago and during the time of World War II. The day of the author visit was a transformative experience for our students. You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium as Laura and Stan presented Fred’s story and their process for writing the book. We are so grateful for this book, the authors who wrote it, and the change it has made in our students’ understanding of speaking up for what is right.”

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