Gardner Bullis celebrates Seuss' b-day, student authors

Crystal Tai/ Los Altos Town Crier
LASD Superintendent Jeff Baier reads to students at Gardner Bullis School’s Read Across America event Friday, with Principal Nadia Oskolkoff in costume.

Students at Gardner Bullis School celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday and shared their own published books Thursday as part of the school’s second BookQuest event.

Friday featured a Read Across America activity.

BookQuest launched in fall 2016, founded by Gardner Bullis mothers Anna Kermani and Elaine Wang, and inspired by Almond School’s BookWave program. BookQuest encourages children to write their own stories, which are then printed and bound as keepsakes.

BookQuest also supports children in need. For every $25 BookQuest publishing kit purchased, the school donated $5 to the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, a cause selected by the Gardner Bullis Student Council. This year’s event raised $570 for the foundation.

Gardner Bullis’ 87 student authors took their published books home after Thursday’s BookQuest exhibition, at which children’s book author Mitali Perkins shared her writing tips.

Friday, Dr. Seuss’ actual birthday, Principal Nadia Oskolkoff and teachers dressed as characters from Dr. Seuss books and welcomed guests to read to students. Guest readers included Santa Clara County Fire Department Chief Ken Kehmna, Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier and retired Gardner Bullis Principal Linda Eckols.

First-graders were wowed to learn that Eckols taught their teacher, Diane Wharton, when she attended the school years ago.

Students also were enthralled with Kehmna’s reading of “No Dragons for Tea,” a book teaching fire safety tips through a story in which a dragon sneezes and sets the table ablaze. After reading the book, Kehmna answered students’ questions about the fire department.

“A big part of fire service is public education, sharing information we have about fire safety,” he told the Town Crier after his visit to Gardner Bullis. “The earlier we can do that, the better. And it was a wonderful experience with the kids.”

Baier said he enjoyed his time with the students.

“It’s great to have a day just celebrating reading, which is vital to everything we do,” he said.

Oskolkoff said students could learn from Dr. Seuss’ perseverance, given the numerous rejections he endured from publishers before he experienced success.

“He kept sending his books to publishers, and finally he was successful,” she said. “That’s something we want to teach the children: Don’t give up. Persevere and work toward your goal”.

Anna Kermani and Elaine Wang contributed to this report.

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