Center City Public Charter School

Photos courtesy of An Open Book Literacy Foundation

Last month, while in Washington, D.C. for the USA Science & Engineering Festival, I was invited to visit the Center City Public Charter School in Center Heights. Sponsored by An Open Book, my morning visit with Ms. Vanessa Elliott’s sixth grade science class was, in a word, spectacular. Ms. Elliott’s students were excited and inquisitive and completely jazzed by the concept of citizen science. And I was completely wowed by their enthusiasm.

The morning would have been a success no matter what, because Dara La Porte from An Open Book had prepared the school, and Ms. Elliott had prepared her students, and because these kids were so very open to rewriting the definition of a scientist. (You know, so that it included them.) But my supremely generous publishers, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers and Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books, pushed the event over the top by donating enough copies of Citizen Scientists and Tracking Trash that each student went home with a copy of their very own.

Do you know how cool that was? It was very cool. I thought so, and so did the students.

Sometimes in the rush to write and edit and perfect and promote and meet deadlines, I lose sight of what I am really trying to do with my work: share stories and ideas that thrill me with people who will be equally thrilled. I’d like to thank each and every student I met at CCPCS last month for reminding me of that. Happy exploring to all of you!