‘Universe’ intervenes to send award-winning author to Marcus Elementary


“When the universe talks, you should listen!”

This statement is one of the themes from this year’s Newbery Award winning book, “Hello Universe,” by Erin Entrada Kelly. Rebecca McKee, librarian at Herbert Marcus Elementary School, followed the story’s advice, and now some lucky fifth-grade students at Marcus will have the chance for some personal face-to-face time with the author.

“When I read ‘Hello Universe’ over the summer, I immediately fell in love with Valencia, one of the characters in the story who is deaf,” McKee said. “Then, I landed the library job at Marcus and learned that many of the students I would be serving are in the deaf-education program. So, selecting this story as a read-aloud was a natural fit. Plus, it’s a Texas Bluebonnet selection this year!” 

McKee approached the teachers of 5G about coming in a few times per week to read the story, and they were happy to oblige. Alisa Kline said that students were extremely engaged during the reading.

“All of our students were able to relate with at least one of the characters, especially our deaf and hard-of-hearing students,” McKee said. 

Upon finishing the story, McKee posted a picture of the group on Twitter and tagged the author. Not only did Kelly reply, but the universe intervened further.

Lindsay Marchant, librarian at Good Shepherd Episcopal School, saw Kelly’s reply Tweet and immediately contacted  McKee with some further good news. Good Shepherd, a previous partner school with Marcus, had previously booked Ms. Kelly for an author visit in November.  Marchant graciously decided that the kids at Marcus should share in this event, and Kelly agreed.

So, next month the students who heard this story will have a rare opportunity to have an intimate discussion with the Newbery author that created it.  At that time, they will surely discuss another theme from the tale: “There are no such things as coincidences!”


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