Author Ellen Oh visits students at Eastampton Community School

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Ellen Oh’s visit with students was part of the NEA’s Read Across America contest

Author Ellen Oh visited students at Eastampton Community School virtually on May 12 as part of the NEA’s Read Across America Sweepstakes.

To the height of Finding Junie Kim, Dragon Egg Princessand the Spirit hunters, read to students and participate in a question-and-answer session with them. The NEA, in coordination with the NJEA, delivered 80 copies of Oh’s Finding Junie Kim students for this event.

“Congratulations to the students of Eastampton Community School who have been selected to receive a virtual tour of acclaimed author Ellen Oh as part of NEA’s Read Across America competition,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “Ellen Oh embodies the spirit of our popular year-round literacy program as we continue to celebrate and build a nation of diverse books, readers and authors. All students deserve the freedom to read more books as diverse and complex as the society in which we live. When we have books that include characters of all races, genders, and backgrounds, students discover their own voices and learn from the stories and voices of others.

Monica Dennler, a librarian at the school, entered the Read Across America contest on behalf of her students. NEA randomly selected the winner from approximately 7,500 submissions. The popular competition ran from January 10, 2022 to January 31, 2022.

“Windows and mirrors are often discussed in education. Students need to see themselves ‘reflected’ in literature and they also need to look through a ‘window’ to see others,” said Monica Dennler. “As the library media specialist for a K-8 school with no budget, I’m always looking for creative ways to get the book for each of our students. Winning the NEA Read contest Across America for Our Students will help educate our school and community about the importance of students seeing themselves and their friends reflected in literature.We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Ellen Oh, in especially during AAPI Heritage Month, author visits always bring excitement and renewed interest in books.

“Books are a passport to the universe and beyond,” said NJEA President Sean M. Spiller. “When children read, they can travel through time, experience different cultures, learn how others think, and explore the limitless spaces of an author’s imagination. We are grateful to Mrs. Dennler, who provided this opportunity for her students, and to all of our members in New Jersey who use books every day to open new worlds to students.

The year-round Read Across America celebration of reading is taking place amid unprecedented partisan efforts to deny students an accurate and honest education, to censor lessons taught in classrooms, and to ban books and erase students of history based on their gender identity, race or origins.

About the NEA Read Across Contest

The Read Across America contests are part of NEA’s year-round efforts to connect students with diverse books and the joys of reading. The authors available for a virtual tour were: David Bowles, award-winning writer, poet, translator and author of My two border towns; J. Elle, author of New York Times Bestseller Ebon Wings; and Ellen Oh, author of Finding Junie Kim and the highly acclaimed young adult series The Prophecy Trilogy.

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