On Friday, June 3rd, Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) Mayoral Academy, Elementary School 1 welcomed Grace Lin, award-winning author and illustrator. Her visit was made possible with a Spark Grant, a highly competitive grant conceived of and funded by Letitia and John Carter and managed by the Rhode Island Foundation. Spark Grants offer third-grade teachers up to $1,000 for projects that engage students through unique experiences and creative learning methods and stimulate student interest in relevant educational topics.
Ms. Lin’s began her presentation by reflecting on her own childhood and shared with students how she came to be proud of her heritage. “When I grew up, my race was not well represented, so I felt out of place,” Ms. Lin shared. “It took a long time for me to come to terms with that and become proud of my heritage and who I am. It was a hard road. I think that’s why I like to talk about my journey with children. I think if I had come to embrace my culture sooner that I would have been a lot happier sooner. I want that for today’s children.” Ms. Lin shared with scholars that she first connected with her culture through literature. That experience inspired her works which are influenced by Chinese folklore and art.
Ms.Lin’s book, Where the Mountains Meet the Moon has been a favorite of third-grade students at BVP for the past three years and so they were especially excited to receive autographed copies of Starry River of the Sky, a companion book to Where the Mountains Meet the Moon. The school was also gifted an advance copy of another companion book Lin plans to release in October, When the Sea Turned to Silver.
When asked what it was like spending time with BVP’s scholars, Ms. Lin shared, “I love seeing students who read and love my books. When you’re an author or illustrator you spend so much time alone working in your studio, hoping that people like it and that it connects with kids. When I come out to schools, I get to see that it does and that’s really exciting.”