Kent Place second-graders have been studying the people, animals, and geographies of our world’s continents — as they are today and from many years ago — as part of their science and social studies curricula, and this week they went on an exciting field trip that would bring their lessons to life. Equipped with their backpacks, notebooks, and adventurous spirits, the girls visited the Museum of Natural History, in New York City.
Author and Kent Place Alumna Amy Pollack ’70 Returns to Primary School
Amy Meislin Pollack, Class of 1970 and a children’s-book author, returned to the place where she was first inspired to write — the Kent Place Primary School. Amy visited the fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms to read from one of her books and lead writing workshops to foster creativity and explore the art of storytelling.
The character Jelly Bean was first imagined by Amy when she was in fourth grade and — amazingly — was the inspiration for The Adventures of Jelly Bean and The Further Adventures of Jelly Bean, published almost 60 years later.
“My fourth-grade teacher would call me up to the front of the room to read stories we had written in class, so I created Jelly Bean, and would tell stories of her adventures,” Amy says. “My teachers — from Primary School through Grade 12 — were very inspiring and always encouraged creativity from all of their students. I see that inside Kent Place’s classrooms today, too.”
Students listened eagerly as Amy read a passage from The Adventures of Jelly Bean. She then asked the girls to write their own endings to the story, or to write a new story, and then invited them to read to their classmates. When she asked if anyone dreamed of publishing her own stories, many hands shot up into the air.
“My advice to students who are aspiring authors, or have any other passion or goal, is to be bold and follow their passion,” Amy says. “The Kent Place students I met this week were so engaged in the lesson and were excited to participate. I know every one of them will achieve great things.”