Students at Van Wert Middle School will spend Friday, Feb. 8 reading and doing activities based on “All of the Above” by Shelley Pearsall. Pictured is a tetrahedron, the book “All of the Above,” and an example of aprons that the food service staff will be wearing in connection with the book. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Students at Van Wert Middle School will spend Friday, Feb. 8 reading and doing activities based on “All of the Above” by Shelley Pearsall. Pictured is a tetrahedron, the book “All of the Above,” and an example of aprons that the food service staff will be wearing in connection with the book. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – In preparation for an appearance from author Shelley Pearsall, Van Wert Middle School will be taking a day on Feb. 8 to read her book, “All of the Above.” The day, titled “One Book One Day,” will also include activities and discussions, as well as a lunch menu that corresponds with the book.

“One Book One day is an event where the whole [middle] school will be reading a book at the same time from beginning to end,” said Nellie Schmidt, District Media Specialist at Van Wert City Schools. “The author, Shelley Pearsall, is coming in the beginning of March, and we thought this would get the kids excited ahead of time and will encourage them to maybe read another one of her books before she comes.”

Schmidt also said that by reading one of Pearsall’s books, students will be able to get to know her and prepare questions for her when she visits the school.

On Feb. 8 the school day will be divided into seven sessions beginning with an assembly where different guest readers from the community will read aloud to the students and explain why they feel reading is important.

“The community members coming in and talking is really important because we (staff and teachers) can stress how important reading is all the time, but when they hear it come from someone out in the community that they might look up to, it can take another meaning versus when teachers say it,” said Schmidt.

“Kids have a lot competing for their attention nowadays with technology, sports, clubs, and school work, and this is really a great opportunity to bring back the focus to literacy and how important reading is,” she continued. “This will also hopefully get them excited about reading.”

“All of the Above” is centered around an inner-city school in Cleveland where the students decide to break a Guinness World Record for the largest tetrahedron. A tetrahedron is a four-sided triangular pyramid. When four smaller tetrahedrons are stacked together, another, larger, tetrahedron is created.

One of the day’s activities on Feb. 8 will give the students a chance to build their own tetrahedron.

All of the “One Day One Book” activities will prepare students for March 5, when Pearsall will visit the school to talk about her books, being a writer, and even rejection and overcoming rejection as a writer.

Not only are the students reading the book, but so are the staff. Schmidt said that in addition to the staff being involved by reading, the food service staff will be wearing aprons that say “Willy Q’s Barbecue” which is a setting in the book. The lunch team is also serving food for the day based on foods in the book.

“I wanted to bring an author into the school as something new for the kids and for some new exposure for them,” said Schmidt. “It’s neat because, in addition to really stressing how important reading is, this is also building community within the school to know that everyone is going to have read the books including staff. Reading plays an important role in life no matter what you do.”

Van Wert Middle School plans to give each student a copy of the book to keep and are asking for donations from the community to help make that possible. Those wishing to donate can do so by dropping off or mailing a donation to the school with ATTN: Nellie Schmidt. For more questions about donating, citizens may contact Schmidt through email at nellie.schmidt@vwnt.net or by calling the school and asking for Schmidt. Schmidt said that nearly 500 books will be ordered.

“Maybe this will be their first book for their personal library, or hopefully, it’s an addition to the library they already have,” said Schmidt. “When the author comes in March she will actually autograph the books so they will have an autographed copy of the book for their library.”