During School Library Month, a Maple Grove Senior High (MGSH) student-led book group invited author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé to meet virtually to discuss her book Ace of Spades. This book is about two students and a prank that quickly turned into a dangerous game. The New York Times and international bestselling author was moved by the opportunity to share more information about her work with students.
Library media specialist, Kim Haugo played a key role in organizing the online author visit. Prior to joining MGSH, Haugo worked at Fernbrook Elementary School for more than 20 years. She loved organizing author visits because it opened possibilities for students to see paths for their future. This was something she hoped to incorporate at the MGSH media center, but the COVID-19 pandemic shifted her plans.
When students returned to school, Haugo sought out partnerships for the library. After learning about the book group, her brain raced with ideas on how the library could support them. This included purchasing books and assisting with the author visits.
“The students were over the moon, and they are still smiling. The author was delightful. It was her first published novel,” shared Haugo.
Despite the London time difference, Àbíké-Íyímídé was excited to answer the questions students prepared. The experience was welcoming, and Àbíké-Íyímídé shared how much she loved writing fan fiction when she was younger. She encouraged students to continue writing what they love.
The first author visit was successful, and showed possible opportunities to expand. Haugo continues to make connections with other students and staff at Osseo Area Schools to provide impeccable service, and the media center continues to serve students as a safe space to spend time. During Crimson hour, more than 170 students utilize the space to play games, hang out, and read.
“I just try to make this a super inclusive place, and we just try to celebrate the joy of reading,” Haugo concluded.