MR. LEMONCELLO AND THE NERDY NATION THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOOK by Chris Grabenstein
Mr. Lemoncello has just finished his first year at school and – thanks to some extremely creative teachers, librarians, and media specialists – what a year he’s had.
Because incredible creativity abounds in the Nerdy Book nation. As Mr. Lemoncello might say, it’s absolutely wondermous.
I’d thought I’d use this blog post to share with you some of the wildly creative ideas that have popped up around the book in hopes that they might spawn even more. When I wrote ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, I was hoping to “game-ify” the research process and make it fun for kids to scavenger hunt for facts in a library. You guys have taken that notion to amazingly brilliant heights.
Darrell Robertson, a Children’s Services librarian from the Carroll County Public Library in Finksburg, Maryland, created the first outside-the-book idea for my web site. He and his team developed a Lemoncello-style Dewey Decimal scavenger hunt that can be played in (or adapted for) libraries everywhere.
I’ve lost count of how many public and school libraries have hosted Lemoncello scavenger hunts in their stacks. Some brave souls have even sponsored over-night library lock-ins. It’s a fun way to teach students about the information categorization process without calling it the information categorization process.
Everything you need to play is available in downloadable PDFs on this page of my web site: http://www.chrisgrabenstein.com/kids/escape-from-mr-lemoncellos-library-game.php
However, to access these files, you’ll need a special code (otherwise, all the players could find the answers to the final puzzle on my web site!). If you want to host a game, just e-mail me at author@ChrisGrabenstein.com and I’ll send you the secret codes.
The next neat idea comes from Fifth Grade teacher Sid Reischer and Librarian Stacey Rattner at Castleton Elementary in upstate New York. They invented a fun, Lemoncello-ish way to do biography projects (with cake and balloons, too)!
The premise? Mr. Lemoncello is holding a contest to find new exhibits for his library. The winners will be announced at a Gala Event, just as grand as the one in the book the night of the Lemoncello Library Lock-In.
Parents were invited and told to dress to the nines. It was like a fun science fair with all sorts of creative historical displays, including a few live performances (imitating the book’s holograms, of course).
You can learn more about putting on your own MR. LEMONCELLO’S GLORIOUSLY HISTORICAL AND SOMEWHAT HYSTERICAL GALA! on this page of my website:
Then there was the fifth grader I met out in Silicon Valley, California who, with the encouragement of his teacher, did his book report on ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY in the form of a board game.
Some schools that I Skyped with sent me Thank You notes done as rebus puzzles. In Boise, Idaho, at the young writers conference I attended, the kids also created rebus puzzles. Some teachers encourage their kiddos to draw their favorite characters from the book on their thank-you notes. What a great way to make a book leap off its pages.
At the Kids Read Across Rhode Island kick-off event in Providence a few weeks ago, they put together life size versions of Candy Land and Scrabble that kids could play in between bursts of reading. I got to pose with the Lollipop Princess and her court.
In Bowling Green, Ohio, a very clever librarian created a “You Might Also Like” display featuring a wall of the books mentioned in LEMONCELLO. They also did an interesting art project: recreating the book cover with duct tape.
A middle school librarian outside Baltimore held a different kind of cover contest and rewarded all the participants with a classic Baltimore treat: lemons you suck through a peppermint stick. I tried. I got a headache. We also had lemonade, Lemon Head candy, and Lemon Filled Oreos.
Like I said, it’s been a very fun year for MR. LEMONCELLO. Which is great! I try to write the kind of books that make reading fun, even for the most “reluctant” readers out there.
But you guys?
You make it a blast!
NOTE: The paperback version of ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY will be available on June 24th and features a bonus section with an author interview, a bonus puzzle that will help you find and solve the book’s hidden puzzle, plus a complete list of all the books mentioned in the text.
Chris Grabenstein is the author of the New York Times bestseller ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY and the co-author (with James Patterson) of the #1 Bestsellers I FUNNY, I EVEN FUNNIER, and TREASURE HUNTERS.
Winner of two Anthony and three Agatha Awards, Chris writes fast-paced and fun page-turners for children and adults. He’s also a playwright and screenwriter not to mention a former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. Sometimes he sleeps.
You can find him online at http://www.chrisgrabenstein.com/ and on Twitter as @CGrabenstein.