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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Children's LiteratureBlog - SU Students Study Abroad

SALISBURY, MD---Nineteen Salisbury University education students, under the leadership of Drs. Ernest Bond and Patricia Dean of the Education Department, are studying children's literature on a study-abroad class that will take them through Iceland, Paris and London through Thursday, August 11. At their final destination they will attend the Children's Literature International Summer School at Roehampton University, as well as opening ceremonies for the city's Hans Christian Anderson Conference.

Periodically during their travels, students and faculty collaborate on a blog chronicling their experiences.  The public is invited to share in those experiences through the blog below.

>August 10, 2005 - London

>Yesterday we held a very successful poster presentation at the British Library where the Hans Christian Andersen conference is being held. The poster session was the culmination of the students' research projects on the works of Hans Christian Andersen.

>During the conference we attended a very creative storytelling play on two of Hans Christian Andersen's stories. Carly, Cassidy and I enjoyed lunch together in the Square and talked about the orginality of the play. Both of them agreed that the play was one of the highlights of our trip "although we say that about something every day)!

Today a group of 11 of us toured the inside of Buckingham Palace and many of us will gather tonight to share one last dinner together in Covent Gardens, London. Tomorrow they will be off to Maryland, greatly changed and definitely worldly. They will need to sleep for a day for sure, but then their stories will begin flowing as they unravel and reflect on the wide variety of experiences we have all had on this amazing European excursion.

>Posted by Dr. Patricia Dean

>August 8, 2005 - London

>Danyelle really enjoyed meeting author Sara Fanelli, who was one of ther guest authors at CLISS. Sara's work was unique and her personal energy level was inspiring. Danyelle's husband, Chris, is part of the writing strand. He has been writing enthusiastically since joining the writing group and has experienced tremendous growth.

>We also had the opportunity to meet Bart Moeyaert from Belgium, an author who publishes in many countries. Chris felt a connection to him and his work.

Anna, our graduate student from Tennessee, is also a part of the Creative Writing strand. She has wanted to work with the CLISS group for some time and has finally realized that dream.

>August 8, 2005 - Cambridge, England

>On Sunday, August 7, we took a bus trip to Cambridge, England. It was nice to leave London for a bit to see the countryside and get a better idea of British culture.

>What a charming town! Some of us took a walking tour of the city while others went punting down the river, catching the information about the universities from the water's edge.

>We heard the historic tales and saw the intersting buildings of King's College, Queen's College, St. John's College, Trinity College and Jesus College, all under the umbrella of Cambridge University. It seems each day as we engage in a new experience that "this was the best day yet."  There have been so many of these!

>August 8, 2005 - London

Last night was the final banquet for CLISS. Nora's 21st birthday was also yesterday, and all 90 participants and the tutors sang "Happy Birthday" to her. We played a game at the end featuring many questions abourt children's literature all over the world. The "Cold Showers" group "featuring Lonnie, Eileen, Amanda, Deanna, Elizabeth and Patricia) came in fourth, one slot ahead of their professors' team!This will not be forgotten in the near future; of this I am sure....

Most of the adults connect the students to Dr. Bond and I and are quick to report to us on their group activities. The students' praises are being sung by many, with reports such as: "Often they are the only ones in the group that have read the assignments," and "they offer ideas and add to the discussions."

>Today, a Tutor, Tomoko from Japan, led one of the sessions. She approached me following the session to state how much the Salisbury University students "specifically Elizabeth S. and Nora) added to her group with insightful and interesting perspectives on the topics. In other sessions, Elizabeth A. was mentioned as a student with leadership qualities, and Amanda and Kathie were noted for being the only ones in their separate groups who read the assigned novel and offered deep, rich discussions.

>Cortney, Katie and Deanna shared expertise on an evaluation of a picture book among a group of academics. Dawn offered critical questions to enhance a discussion on dialects. Jessica has been recognized as meeting people and exchanging addresses with people from all over the world. I know that many more students have made an impact here as well.

We are off to the opening of the Hans Christian Andersen Festival tonight. We have just a few more days to share our news before returning to the states.

>Posted by Dr. Patricia Dean

>August 8, 2005 - London

>One of our assignments for both Salisbury University and CLISS at Roehampton University was to read a novel called The Children of Green Knowe. This book was written by a local English author who lived in the vicinity in one of the oldest houses on record here.

>On Sunday, we traveled to the house, called Hemmingford Gray, the manor house where the author Lucy Boston lived. As we walked up the path we were greeted by Diana Boston " Lucy Boston's daughter-in-law). All around us there were gardens filled with beautiful flowers and bushes shaped like chess pieces. Ms. Boston took us for a tour through the house which inspired Lucy Boston to write The Greene Knowe series).

>My favorite room was the children's room where Tolly stayed a character in the book). There were the rocking horse, tiny mouse and toy chest with treasures in it. I could tell that this was a magical room as I saw a glimmer in everyone's eyes. After a tour of the house, we traveled outside through the gardens. Diana Boston made a comment to us that we may become children again as we look for the deer that Tolly found in the book.

>As I walked through the gardens, I could imagine Tolly playing and exploring them. I even felt like a child, as Diana Boston said, as I walked through the gardens discovering something new around every corner. Maybe I'd even see Toby or Linnet as Tolly saw them in the book. The manor was a peaceful place and it gave me a new appreciation for the book!

>Posted by Elizabeth S., graduate student

>August 6, 2005 - London

>The 19 Salisbury University students are making quite an impact at Roehampton University. We have met people from Sweden, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Japan, Slovania, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Camaroon, Italy, Greece, Spain, Israel, Australia, England "of course) and places throughout the USA so far.

>Not to miss out on the city, many have traveled to view the sights of London as well. Last night a group went to see Chicago at the London Theater.

>The days fly by and we are beginning the countdown to the conclusion of this European experience with mixed emotions--glad to be thinking of home but sad to leave these memories behind.

>August 5, 2005 - London

>Writing freely.

>After one full day of CLISS classes now, in London, I thought I would share a snippet from my assignments thus far. I am in the Creative Writing strand, and below is one of our free-write assignments. Our writing instuctor had us spend a couple minutes on several questions first thing this morning:

>1. How do I feel about beginning this session?

>Intimidated. Fearful. Thrilled. I am simmering over the prospect "could it
happen?) of coming away from here with a focus for my writing. And I am terrified that I will end up, in the midst of all this creative genius,
finding that in fact I do not have what it takes to be a writer.
Could I be so driven, and yet it be for nothing? From whence cometh this yearning ... that I could direct this force outwards, that I could create!
Posted by anna j. at 8/05/05

>August 4, 2005 - London

>Wow... this experience is wonderful!  Iceland's Blue Lagoon was such a treat, especially after a tiring yet exciting plane ride from BWI to Iceland. Meeting authors from such a unique location was so enriching. I even met a girl there who was half Icelandic and half Polish! Who would have thought I could talk to someone in Polish all the way in Iceland?

>After traveling to three countries in one day "flight from Iceland to England and then Chunnel from England to France) we were exhausted. However, we Salisbury students tackled France with a quickness! We were on and off those subways and trains faster than the Parisians!

>I have never seen such breathtaking sites as I did in Versailles and on top of the Eiffel tower. I overhead many Polish people and I quickly realized that this site is a cultural center. Now I am in England studying at Roehampton University. I am meeting many people from all parts of the world.

>It is nice to get perspectives on some children's literature from all cultural perspectives. I want to thank my parents for the funds and support for allowing me to go on such a wonderful journey that I will never forget.  Until next post, au revoir!

Posted by Patricia Mstowski

>August 4, 2005 - London

>Paris was delightful, and the SU students learned to navigate the city as if it was the size of Salisbury. After spending two days in Iceland, it was quite a treat for some of us to meet three Icelanders atop the Eiffel Tower just four days later. The Icelanders pointed out at how lucky we were to run into each other since there are only 300,000 people in all of Iceland. What are the odds of meeting three of them at the top of the Eiffel Tower?

We shared a Medieval feast at Nos Ancestres Les Gaulois on Ile Sainte-Louis "one of the three islands around Notre Dame), celebrating our newlyweds, Chris and Danyelle, and birthdays of Nora, Kathie and Danyelle. After a five-course meal and guitar serenades we were ready to head back to our hotel "well, some of us were!).
Our final day in Paris found us at another cafe enjoying lunch with the illustrators Doug Cushman and Bridget Strevens-Marzo. The differences in French and American literature was quite fascinating.

We have now settled in at Roehampton University where we are enjoying not only the British culture but a lot of academic experiences. The SU students are quite a hit as they mingle with scholars from all over the world. Without a doubt they are putting Salisbury University on the map and have left a positive, lasting impression on many of the people here. It is rewarding to be a part of such an outstanding group of young people.

>July 31, 2005 - Paris

>Touristic ignorance?

>Advisory to future visitors to Paris:  Do not attempt to run in a cemetery.

>Out for my morning run, I decided today to see if I could locate the cemetery that I heard was not too far from where we were staying. Seeing as how I am incessantly on the prowl for a scenic new route and had already completed approximately 15 circlings of the small park I had found the previous morning, I was more than up to the quest. Besides, I have a particular fondness--inexplicably--for meandering through cemeteries. So off I went.

>Sure enough, a few busy Parisian intersections later, I saw a gate behind which promising glimpses of greenery appeared. I did not expect quite so many paved paths, imposingly gated tombstones and crowds of tourists, but the entrance was large and open, so in I went. Only a few yards in, however, I thought I heard shouting, so pulled my earphones off and looked around. There I saw a uniformed guard running towards me.

>"Arrete! Arrete!" I stopped immediately. "Pardon, monsieur--il faut payer?" "I'm sorry, sir--do I need to pay to enter?) . . . A few interactions later, I discovered that the problem was not my lack of an entrance fee. In fact, he informed me, it is forbidden to run in the cemetery.

>Frankly, I immediately realized that it was silly of me to not have foreseen the possibility of such a cultural rule, and so I berated myself for the remainder of my run "in the park) for such ignorant insensitivity on my part.

>Interestingly, though, I discovered another aspect to my ignorance after speaking later in the day with a French friend about my experience. See, not only was I attempting to run in a cemetery. I was running in the resting place of Voltaire, Chopin. . . and Jim Morrison.

>Posted by anna j at 7/31/2005

>July 30, 2005 - Paris

>Finally a moment to reflect on our trip as we sit at a cafe on rue de Roquette in Paris. Deep breath... Wow!

In the past three days we have seen sagas and whales in Iceland, ridden on a train going over a hundred miles per hour under the English Channel and held class in a chateau in France "yes we are having classes!)

First stop, Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Soaking in the 100-degree geothermal waters, clouds of steam and mountains of rugged lava rock surround us. What a bizarre and wonderful way to start our trip. Imagine the land before time juxtaposed with an ultra modern resort... not much to do with international children's literature, but it certainly set the mood for a wonderful voyage!

Latter that day we sat to speak with Andri Magnasson, author of The Blue Planet. His book has won awards in numerous countries, but we are his first American audience fortunate enough to read the soon-to-be-published English translation. What a treat. Our gracious host who is a board member of the Icelandic Culture House actually took us on day two to see the original Eddas and Icelandic sagas. The we were surprised to find that the head of the Icelandic Writer's Union, Adalsteinn Sigurdsson and the recent winner of the Nordic Children's Literature Award, Ragnheidi Gestsdottur were joining us for a discussion of Icelandic children's books. Three of the most respected authors in Iceland sitting down to speak with us!

We were not ready to leave Iceland, but Paris was beckoning... so off we went. Our courses in France are being held at L'Institute International de Charles Perrault, a beautiful chateau surrounded by gardens and fountains. Yesterday we started with a history of French children's literature shared with us by esteemed French librarian Marie Odile Derrien. Today we will look at contemporary French children's books then off to the Louvre.

Well as they say in France, a bientot! "

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