The Reading Road Trip visited two schools on Thursday, Nov. 15. In Cabot, Eastside Elementary second graders were aghast at Craig O’Neil’s inability to perform wizardry.
He had the hat and the magic wand and everything, but no, it didn’t happen.
Then again, Craig was in the school library where books hold all the magic. It’s books that cast spells and make transformations. And boy did it ever work in Cabot, with a book that shows how people can change and be jealous of someone they end up doing favors for.
The kids loved it.
Service to others, a staple of Eastside, where cans of food were stacked against walls’ halls, ready to go to food pantries in Lonoke County.
In Conway, Craig gave up. At Conway Christian, there were no pointy hats or magic wands, but there was magic. All of Conway Christian’s 5th graders gathered in the library, to hear Craig read chapter one of Sharon Draper’s wonderful book, “Out of My Mind.”
It was a former number one on the NY Times Best-Seller list for child fiction. It’s the story of a young girl with cerebral palsy who cannot talk, but she can think, and all of the book centers around what she’s thinking and how she reacts to incidents in her 6th grade life. It’s a powerful story and the first chapter is brilliant.
Craig read the first chapter, then asked if any of the kids would like to keep reading after hearing it. Every hand shot up, and that was Roger Sundermeir’s cue.
Roger is with First Arkansas Bank and Trust, and to every kid in the library, the bank gave a free copy of “Out of My Mind.” The kids opened the books and eagerly began reading. Consider the story, a part of the Thanksgiving Day feast.
A Special thanks to FAB&T for a special moment on the Reading Roadtrip this school year. In the end, Craig had become a wizard after all -- a book wizard.