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A world in books

Pick up a free book, enjoy a dinner out and meet some young authors during Superior Middle School’s celebration of literacy Wednesday. It’s free and open to all.

“We spend a lot of our time trying to broaden our students’ horizons, trying to open the outside world to them,” said sixth grade science teacher Stephanie Francis. “But then when we host events like this I really feel like we’re trying to draw the community in.”

Reading teacher Andrea Moreau said it gives the school staff a chance to show off all the reading and writing and great things that kids are doing.

Middle school teachers have amassed more than 500 books to give away free to the public, one book per person, as part of World Book Night.

“The whole purpose of World Book Night is to encourage adult non-readers, reluctant readers to get reading,” Moreau said. “It fits in so well because when you have a community of readers, you will have students who read.”

Titles available from 3-7 p.m. include Garrison Keillor’s “Pontoon,” “The Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller and Jamie Ford’s “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.” One title, “The Lighthouse Road” by Peter Geye, is set in Duluth. There’s nonfiction like Malcom Gladwell’s “Tipping Point,” even a book of poetry.

“The titles are so diverse, there’s probably something for everybody,” Moreau said.

For three years, teachers have been handing out books as part of World Book Night.

“It’s just joyous. Most of us who are book givers love reading,” Moreau said, and they hope to pass on that joy.

Come for the book; stay for the night. Along with the giveaway, Family and Consumer Education students prepare and serve dinner 4:30-6 p.m. Enjoy a taco in a bag with music provided by the school’s orchestra students. There will be vocabulary games for youngsters, a silent auction and raffle for a Nook tablet and informational tables from the PTA, the Superior Public Library, Barnes and Noble, and other groups. Forensics team members perform and student art is on display.

“We’re trying to make those connections within the community so people see there’s a lot of good stuff going on here,” Moreau said.

A number of young authors will be on hand to autograph their work. More than 180 students wrote stories and articles that were published in hardcover books. With help from National Estuarine Research Reserve staff and Rivers to Lakes program, students wrote science articles and language arts folktales centered on the region.

“For us, as classroom teachers, it’s a real, authentic way to get kids to write … they were doing a lot of research for a real reason,” Francis said.

“We decided to focus on folklore in the area, in the Great Lakes region,” said language arts teacher Melissa Isabella. Students searched out an interesting fact then created a “Pourquois” story to explain it, complete with illustrations.

A tiff with moose and a spell-casting snake are part of the reason cows say moo, according to a tale by sixth-grader Ben Hintzman. His classmate, Josie DeGraef, described why a bumblebee has hair on its eyes, something to do with honey and a cheetah. Bragging and skunk spray feature into a story by Ailey Rude about why the great horned owl can’t fly.

“It was pretty hard, but it was fun,” said sixth grader Austin Hunker about the writing projects. “I think that it turned out good and it was a good idea and I wouldn’t change anything.”