Last year, Hill Intermediate School placed fifth in the nation and first in Aldine ISD after students read 3,039,434 minutes for Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge. The school also earned its second record in the Guinness World Records for the challenge. As a reward, Scholastic organized for author Angela Cervantes to visit with students at the campus on April 4.
Cervantes, originally from Kansas, spent most of her childhood in Topeka living in the Mexican-American community of Oakland. Her family also spent a lot of time in El Dorado and Wichita visiting “abuelos” (grandparents) as well as aunts, uncles and cousins on weekends. After she graduated from the University of Kansas, Cervantes moved to Brownsville, TX. It was there that she was introduced to the music of Selena, ceviche and learned to two-step. Cervantes also spent two years in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she taught English and literature.
In 2005, Cervantes’ short story, “Pork Chop Sandwiches,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. In 2007, she won third place for Creative Nonfiction in the Missouri Review‘s audio competition for her story “House of Women” and Kansas City Voices‘ Best of Prose Award (Whispering Prairie Press) for her short story “Ten Hail Marys.” In 2008, Kansas City Star Magazine recognized Cervantes as one of Kansas City’s Emerging Writers.
Her first novel, “Gaby, Lost and Found,” was released in August 2013 (Scholastic Press). Cervantes is currently working on her second middle grade novel.
Visit Kirkus Reviews to read their write-up about “Gaby, Lost and Found.”
In anticipation of Cervantes’ visit, students had been reading “Gaby, Lost and Found” on their own and in class. Excerpts from the book were also highlighted on the morning announcements.
During her visit at Hill Intermediate, Cervantes spoke to a group of fifth and sixth grade students about her love of reading and writing. She also shared her experiences writing “Gaby, Lost and Found” and getting the book published. The presentation included a question and answer session where students had the opportunity to ask the author questions about herself and her popular novel. Cervantes also autographed a number of books.
Steven Roethler, a reading response to intervention (RtI) teacher at Hill Intermediate, and Brad Sveter, information literacy specialist at the campus, organized the reading challenge at the campus.
Each year, a number of AISD campuses participate in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Students read and record their minutes. Odom Elementary School and Hill Intermediate School placed fifth and sixth in the nation, respectively, in the 2013 challenge. Cervantes also visited Odom Elementary School.
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