Advertisement. Click on the ad for more information.
Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Traveling In-Word

For this week’s writ­ing road trip, I jour­neyed to the Alpha­bet For­est. For those who haven’t had the plea­sure of vis­it­ing, the Alpha­bet For­est is the remark­able cre­ation of author/illustrator/innovator Debra Frasi­er, who through pure pas­sion and per­sis­tence, man­aged to carve out an oasis for words in the midst of the con­sum­able crazi­ness that is the Min­neso­ta State Fair.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the State Fair. I just don’t think of it as a place to sit qui­et­ly and muse deeply. And yet, Debra’s love of fair let­ter­ing start­ed her on a jour­ney that led to cre­at­ing this enchant­ed place: in the midst of sun­burn, sore feet, and stom­ach aches, here is a cor­ner where there’s shade and plen­ty of places to sit down and peo­ple who offer you fun for free. But bet­ter yet, there are words enough to stuff your imag­i­na­tion even more than those mini donuts have already stuffed your stom­ach.

Lisa Bullard

Last year, I watched as my niece ignored every oth­er fair offer­ing (okay, with the excep­tion of that giant brown­ie) as she obses­sive­ly filled out her Fab­u­lous Fair Alpha­bet Game Card. This year, I had the plea­sure of serv­ing as author-in-res­i­dence at the Alpha­bet For­est for a day. I worked with oodles of kids who set­tled in at my table and prompt­ly became utter­ly absorbed in writ­ing or draw­ing. It didn’t mat­ter that the parade was pass­ing them by (lit­er­al­ly!) and that there were still corn­dogs and cot­ton can­dy to be eat­en: when giv­en the option, their num­ber one pri­or­i­ty was to lose them­selves in the cre­ative act.

It remind­ed me, all over again, why I do what I do: giv­ing kids the gift of words and sto­ry is like hand­ing them the mag­ic key to life. Even kids who think they hate read­ing and writ­ing can be won over eas­i­ly once you find the right key for them. A for­est full of words can beat a clutch of corn­dogs any day.

If you’re near Min­neso­ta, and you’re going to the fair, you can be inspired with ideas for how to cre­ate an Alpha­bet For­est in your own class­room or din­ing room. If not, there are a myr­i­ad of amaz­ing down­load­able resources to help you, start­ing at this link and mov­ing on from there to Debra Frasier’s web­site.

You’ll be mighty glad you made the jour­ney.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.