Camas children’s author explores ‘Goodbye’

first_imgNo more laptops, no more books, no more teacher’s tired looks. Pack up that and clean up this, now give Mrs. McBee a goodbye kiss! OK, that may not scan perfectly, but Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan doesn’t care. This is exactly what she wants kids — and their parents — to do with language: play around with it. Make stuff up and have fun with it. Share it. That’s the way to master it, McLellan said.McLellan was a longtime reading specialist in the Camas School District who retired last year to pursue a promising new career as a children’s author. You can meet her and hear her read from her debut picture book, “Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3,” at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Camas Public Library. There will be activities for kids, prize drawings and photo ops with McLellan’s big, inflatable pencil. Tearful goodbyesA few years ago, with a new school coming online, the Camas district interviewed all elementary teachers and specialists about switching buildings. It was an exciting opportunity, but it also spread anxiety through the ranks of both staff and students, McLellan said. Teachers worried where they’d end up. Students worried where their favorite teachers would end up.You might not think they’d care, given the original words to that childhood rhyme of summertime liberation. But McLellan found otherwise in a career that had her intervening in the lives of literacy-challenged kids. Many came from backgrounds of deprivation and chaos, she said, and for them school never meant boredom and oppression. Just the opposite: it was an anchor of stability, offering everything from reduced-price lunches to caring professionals — such as McLellan.last_img

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