Save the Date: The Word Collector Extravaganza

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The inaugural Word Collector Extravaganza event will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10 - 2 p.m. at Ithaca High School, 1401 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, New York. Brigid Hubberman, founder of Children’s Reading Connection, is spearheading the national pilot program built around The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds, in collaboration with The Reynolds Center, for Teaching, Learning, and Creativity.

"So much more than a wonderful children's book, The Word Collector is an anthem, a call to action, and a road map for all of us to help children understand the pleasure and power of words and word collecting." says Hubberman about the importance and potential of the book as a catalyst to start a national word movement.

New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds will kick-off the event at 10 a.m. with a book reading followed by book signing. Special shout-out to Ithaca's own Independent bookseller Buffalo Street Books, for joining the day to provide books by Peter H. Reynolds for all of his fans.

The Word Collector Extravaganza! continues with a world of word play, including Word Art, Word Games, Word Puzzles, and Word Collecting. The interactive activities include lots and lots of family word fun with Anagrams and Palindromes, A BIG Crossword Puzzle, Translation Station, BIG Magnetic Poetry, Word Jumble, Visual Puns, Bookmaking, Read-Aloud and so much more!

The Word Parade starts at 1 p.m. at the high school. Come dressed as your favorite word, or wear a word!

Admission: Your favorite word for the Community Word Wall.

Special Invitation to Schools, Libraries, and Community Organizations! Children's Reading Connection is building this pilot intiative to share with others. Anyone interested in replicating The Word Collector Extravaganza for their community is invited to come to experience it first hand, and to learn how to create your own!

If you have any questions, or an idea for celebrating words at the event, contact: Brigid.Hubberman@ChildrensReadingConnection.org or call 607-227-3360

The Word Collector Nominated for NAACP Image Award

We are excited to share that The Word Collector, by Peter H. Reynolds, was nominated for a 2019 NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work category. The annual awards ceremony is hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature.  

Winners will be announced on March 30, 2019.

Word Champion: Why I Choose Yellow

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Alyssa King is an Intervention Specialist at Hilltop Elementary in Reading, Ohio. She’s written a book, “I Choose Yellow,” about her dear friend Emily Marie Casey. Alyssa recently connected the dots with Peter H. Reynolds to share about Emily, her writing journey, and their love for “The Word Collector.” Read on to discover how words can shape a life and transform hearts.

Alyssa recounted a lesson she learned from Emily, “you don’t have to use a lot of words or big fancy words to have a voice and a powerful message.


“I believe that there are certain events that have helped me find my purpose,” reflected Alyssa King an Intervention Specialist at Hilltop Elementary in Reading, Ohio. Her spirit, drive, and purpose is drenched in kindness as she speaks of her best friend Emily and the journey that propelled her to write and share the message of one “bright,” “bold,” and “warm” life.

Alyssa’s road to discovering her purpose started in the fourth grade when her youngest brother, TJ, was diagnosed with cancer.

“During the time TJ was sick, I spent years playing in a hospital playroom and learned how to play and interact with children who looked and acted a lot differently than me,” she shared. “My fourth grade-self quickly realized that our similarities greatly outshined our differences and my passion for being around people who are perceived by the world to be ‘different’ began to develop.

These experiences guided the activities she was joined in high school.

“I spent a lot of time going on mission trips to work with children in impoverished communities, being a part of a community service club, and volunteering at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Each new experience intensified my passion for being around people from all walks of life. In each of these experiences I learned valuable life lessons about perseverance, strength, and resiliency from the children I was supposed to be helping.”

And then she was asked to be a swim therapy partner with Emily, a young girl with a developmental disability. Alyssa explained that Emily was a family friend and shared a birthday with her brother Ryan. Infact, her mother, Barb, and Emily’s mom, Jen met at Miami University of Ohio.

Emily and Alyssa first time at the pool!.jpg

“I’d see Emily occasionally, whether it was at a backyard barbeque or a trip to the amusement park. Fast forward to my junior year of high school. My mom told me that Emily needed a partner for swim class and I couldn’t have been more excited,” she said. “I showed up to our first day of swim class full of energy and to my surprise Emily showed up with about ten times more. Needless to say, it only took about 15 minutes for the dynamic duo of Emily and Alyssa to conquer the pool which ultimately turned into us conquering life, side by side.”

Emily became Alyssa’s “greatest teacher” and the reason she pursued a degree in special education.

“Emily taught me far more than any three-credit hour college course ever could. She taught me to tackle challenges with positivity, treat everyone with overwhelming kindness, and to never underestimate the power of a genuine smile and contagious laughter,” Alyssa said.

All great paths eventually connect, Emily’s love of children’s books lead Alyssa to write Peter H. Reynolds.  

“One of our favorite books to read together was ‘The Word Collector,’” she shared. “I felt called to reach out to Mr. Reynolds because I believe that you cannot write books with such powerful messages and not be living out those same virtues in your own life.”

As a senior in college, Alyssa started writing, “I Choose Yellow,” with Emily.

“The more I reflect on ‘I Choose Yellow,’ the more that I realize that Emily was the author and I was her scribe,” she shared about the writing process.

This also happened to be the same year Emily became very ill. Emily had a life-long battle with medical issues associated with CDGS (Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation Syndrome).  

“I was up really late, as most college students are, and I felt the need to open my laptop and just start writing. Before I knew it, I was left with a book called ‘I Choose Yellow,’” she said. “At first, I thought I wrote the book in less than an hour but the more I reflect on it, the more I realize that ‘I Choose Yellow’ was five years in the making.”

Each page of the rhyming story celebrates a beautiful friendship and the decision to express joy, be bold, show kindness and choose yellow.

“Emily had her own language, we called it Emily language,” Alyssa explained. “Her language was made up of few words, with ‘yellow’ being my favorite word in her vocabulary.”

Yellow was Emily’s favorite color and she wanted everything to be yellow.

“The color yellow is a cheerful color, often associated with making people happy. After spending time with Emily, people always walked away with a smile on their face. She was bright yellow like the sun, spreading her light to all that she encountered. She was bold yellow, like the golden mane of a courageous lion tackling the scariest challenges with absolute grace and positivity. She was a warm yellow, comforting and sweet, often saying ‘HELLO’ to the grumpiest looking strangers and always getting a smile in return. Emily chose to live her life yellow for her almost 19 years on earth,” Alyssa shared. Emily died in March of 2018. Her life, love, and joy unfolds on every page of Alyssa’s book - the story she wrote with her dear friend.

“‘I Choose Yellow’ challenges people to choose positivity during the most challenging times and to continue to always lift others up,” Alyssa said about her book.

While journey to publish ‘I Choose Yellow’ has been slow. Alyssa shared that the book was rejected from many independent publishing companies.  

It was then she reached out to Peter.

“I reached out because I was feeling discouraged as a writer. After ‘I Choose Yellow’ was rejected I was seeking guidance from a person who seemed passionate about sharing positive messages.” she said.

With encouragement to keep pushing on. Alyssa is choosing yellow.

“I am choosing to live my life yellow as Emily taught me and to remain positive that the right independent publishing company will pick it up,” she said. “Emily persevered through some of the hardest challenges imaginable, and I plan to persevere through every rejection because I believe her story needs to be heard by the world … I think Emily would like people who read this book to be encouraged to live their lives ‘yellow’ as she did. Choosing yellow simply means to tackle life’s challenges with positivity and to focus on impacting others’ lives with sincere kindness.

Want to connect with Alyssa? She can be reached at kinga15@xavier.edu.

Classroom Spotlight: Positive Language Encouraged with The Word Collector

Rachel Van Hazinga is a STEAM teacher at Deal Elementary School in Deal, NJ.

She shared a bit on how she began using The Word Collector in the classroom and what projects her students have created. Read on to learn more!

“I ordered The Word Collector book as soon as it came out and brought it to my professional learning community. The gym teacher and I struck up a conversation about how it could provoke positive conversation in relation to his lessons around sportsmanship and how he could use language to promote positive conversation and communication in his classes. In my STEAM classes, I was able to link it to the idea of empathy and how we communicate our ideas.

This evolved into a project that included all grade levels and some in both classes. I created a template using a Google drawing that was shared out through Google Classroom for all students. The youngest levels were given printouts because they wanted to color their words. Older students personalized their words with size, color, and font choice. Finally, a group of students arranged the cutout words onto a double bulletin board in a way to reflect the words blowing about in Jerome's world.

Students could be seen looking for their words as the walked by in the hallways. Students also mentioned to others that so many of the words were the same as others words. The school had chosen words they thought were important to them, which reflected themselves and their values.”

“Dream it! Write it! Say it!” Teacher Guide

All-New “Dream it! Write it! Say it!” Teacher Guide Now Available Featuring Three of Peter H. Reynolds Storybooks

Need help making the most of Peter H. Reynolds story books with your students? Thanks to our creative friends at Scholastic, teachers around the world will soon be enjoying the all-newDream it! Write it! Say it!” Teacher Guide

The guide features not only Peter’s book The Word Collector, but also two other PHR titles published by Scholastic’s Orchard Books - including Happy Dreamer and Say Something.  

As Peter notes in the guide, "These three books are more than just pages with words and images. I wrote and illustrated Happy Dreamer, The Word Collector, and Say Something! to encourage my readers to take time to dream and not to limit how big those dreams can be. Your dreams are all yours—so why not dream big?"


Designed to inspire the big dreams of students 4 to 8 years old, the full-color guide provides many thoughtfully designed extension activities and reproducibles to help bring the themes of these three books to life. The guide is free and available for download on the Word Collector Resources page - or by direct link: https://tinyurl.com/PHRteacherguide.  

Calling all Word Collectors: What's Your Word?

Origami, happiness, and galoshes definitely make our top 10 favorite words list! Word Collectors come from all over, of all ages and backgrounds, but are brought together over one thing: our love of words! Words can connect us all through our power of communication and mutual understanding, whether it be through speech, text, or an entirely other form!

These Word Champions are gathering new words each and every day to add to their vocabularies. Here’s a few awesome words to add to your notebook!

What words did you collect today? Let us know on the Share Your Words tab, email us a picture of you holding your favorite word at TWC@reynoldstlc.org, and Tweet us using #TheWordCollectors!

These photos were originally posted on the FableVision Studios website. Check out the original post here.