BRADFORD — Thanks to Nicole Hackett, a Title I teacher at Bradford Elementary School, students heard a presentation Thursday from an author.
“I arranged to have local Ohio author Patty Huston-Holm and her co-author Kathy McFerin visit our students in grades Beginnergarten-6th grade,” Hackett said. “Huston and McFerin co-wrote a parent-teacher guide, which includes Huston-Holm’s book ‘Inviting A Giraffe to Tea’.”
Hackett said she has guided reading groups and aid students.
“I wanted to bring some positive attention to Bradford School District,” Hackett said. “As part of my fourth-year RESA requirement to involve the school as a community to engage in a learning experience. I chose to bring an Ohio author to Bradford Elementary School with the help of Mrs. Lavey.”
Huston-Holm, who is from Canal Winchester in Ohio wrote the book, ‘Inviting a Giraffe to Tea,” which was created by the interest of the relocation of giraffes from Uganda Large Murchinson Falls National Park to a smaller lake called Lake Mburo National park to help save the Acacia trees in Murchison.
“Another purpose for her writing the book was thoughts about today’s children not having the opportunity to see animals in their natural habitat,” Hackett said. “Children might only see African wildlife in zoos. She also considered the challenges our youth across the world are dealing with such as bullying, acceptance of their difference, today’s disconnect of the family and the struggle to get along.”
On Thursday morning, she spoke to fourth- and fifth-graders separately; talking about the book to students during the first session and about poaching during the second.
Huston-Holm, now retired, teaches journalism and dissertation writing at the Uganda Christian University six months out of the year.
A former news reporter, she also writes stories for magazines. She said it took a couple of years to finish her latest book.
“I wrote the book in my head and then spent a couple of years doing research,” she said. “I came back to Ohio and wrote it. I probably had 20 hours of actual writing.”
She does speaking engagements at schools and would like to start going into memory care and visiting elderly residents.
Huston-Holm spoke to students about all kinds of animals, some of which are in her book, and she mentioned omnivores, carnivores and herbivores.
“Some of the writing is fiction and some is non-fiction,” she said. “None of us come from the same frame. I get totally excited about writing. I’ve never seen a leopard.”
She closed her first presentation with the song, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and got a little help from the students.
Her co-hort, McFerrin, was one of the many team members who made the book possible. As a teacher, she worked closely with Huston-Holm on the parent-teacher guide for the book.
McFerrin told students when they are thinking about writing, “I challenge you to do three things: Pick something you really like to do the rest of your life; try something you’ve never tried; and be with positive people.”
She went on, “It took a whole team to write the book with Patty having the last say.”