Believe it or not, I have never been to a Disney theme park before the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) meeting in Orlando this November! Actually, I didn’t go to the amusement parks, but it was the closest I’ve ever gotten. I snapped a photo when we drove through the Disney gates, and Tom commented, “I’ll bet that’s a picture that’s been take billions of times!” But it’s the first time I’d ever seen this famous gate.
While at NCTE, my editor, and friend, Philippa Stratton, was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Educator in the English Language Arts Award. It was exciting to be there and participate in all the festivities surrounding this event! You may not know Philippa, but you certainly know many of the authors whom she has published– Marie Clay, Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins, Shelley Harwayne, Nancie Atwell, and Regie Routman, to name a few of the early ones! Philippa and her husband, Tom Seavey created the genre of the professional book for teachers in the U.S., starting in 1980 when she moved here from Britain. At this time, I was a young teacher and had taught just a few years. I remember that before Heinemann Publishers was established in the U.S., the only books about teaching were college textbooks. Philippa and her husband certainly changed all that. To read more about Philippa and her amazing life story, read this article.