A noted author from New Orleans, M.H. Herlong, joined my READ 180 classroom and interacted with students via a video conference on June 6. Students shared presentations and projects of the author's award-winning book Buddy. Students were joined by senior school officials, parents, faculty members, and SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association). The genuine support of the event was greatly recognized and appreciated by all.
Student projects related to some of the topics of the book which included New Orleans before and after Katrina, the Katrina Pet Rescue, the New Orleans Levee System, and posters about the main character (Li'lT) efforts to raise money for his dog "Buddy."
M.H. Herlong greeted the audience and then shared with the students that they are ALL authors because each of them has a story to tell. She shared reasons why she wrote Buddy and the writing process involved in drafting the book. She then viewed the students' projects and offered thoughtful feedback to each one. At the end of the conference, she answered questions from the audience and closed with saying that her visit with the students was inspiring and that she was impressed not only with the students' excellent displays but also how they presented the projects.
Press Release of the Videoconference
Lexile is a 670, and the length of the book is 256 pages. Male and female readers, ages 9 and up, will be able to relate to LilT's story and will desire to read this book, over and over again, both in and outside the classroom.
Some themes addressed in Buddy include:
Checkout the book's website for teachers that is replete with fun and interesting lesson ideas and activities that connect to the book. A Classroom Guide for Buddy by M.H. Hurling is available that provides questions, lesson suggestions, project choices, vocabulary words, point of view, topics, themes, and colloquialisms and idioms that are directly connected to the book. This is one of the books that can hook readers and spark strong book talks.
A trailer for the book was also created to give students a first-hand look at the major characters (LilT and Buddy) and the devastating impact Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans.
Buddy by M.H. Herlong has won numerous awards including:
2013 Great Stone Face Award- Grades 4-6 (Winner)
2014 Black-Eyed Susan Award- Grades 4-6 (Nominee)
2014 South Carolina Children's, Junior and Young Adult Book Award—Children's Winner
2015 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award—Grades 6-8 (Honor Book)
2015 Volunteer State Book Award—Intermediate (Nominee)
2015 William Allen White Children's Book Award—Grades 6-8 (Winner)
2016 Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award—Grades 6-8 (Nominee)
I strongly suggest that you read this book and offer it as a Class Book selection sometime in the new school year. It is a book that will not only move you but also propel your students to fall in love with reading. It is a book that shows students that reading can take people to places that reach into their hearts and beyond.