Avi is short for Amazing – Warwick Education Foundation

Avi is short for Amazing

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For 3 days and 9 presentations, the Newbery-winning author wowed Warwick students.

Your giving—through the Warwick Education Foundation—funded the grant to bring the author Avi to Warwick in early May. Why Avi?

Patti Lapp knew he was amazing on the page. For years she’d delighted her sixth-grade Language Arts students by introducing them to Avi’s imagination-stretching and award-winning novels.

What we didn’t know was how amazing Avi (pronounced AH-vee) would be in the classroom and on the stage. His person-to-person skill flows naturally from a genuine respect for others.

You see it in his thorough preparation; he tailors each presentation to the age and interests of his audience. “You could learn something new at every event,” Patti says.

By not only speaking and reading from his books but respecting every question, he demonstrated how to connect with kindness, honesty, and gentle humor. And that wowed the Warwick students and their parents.

We also didn’t know how we could possibly pry the 81-year-old author away from his Colorado mountain home and writing life. Set it all aside for three demanding days in Lititz? The persuasive powers of Patti Lapp were amazing. And as our Warwick kids discovered, so was Avi.

They learned how to dive deeper into a book, see not just what happens to sustain suspense but how it affects the characters and shapes the theme.

They heard about the craft and discipline of writing, the author’s own struggles when he was in school, and how he still works around a learning disability.

Above all, they couldn’t miss the basic lesson that good writers are avid readers. Read a lot, Avi told them, read all the time. Read, read, read.

His books make it easier to read. But they’re not easy to write. He picks what interests him, then does a lot of research to make sure his novels, although works of imagination, are factually correct as well as emotionally true. He might rewrite dozens and dozens of times till every sentence rings just right. All this demonstrates how much he cares about his readers.

Because he spends long hours sitting at a desk, he needs physical exercise to withstand the rigors of writing. So he swims a mile every day.

That’s the short course in how you write 81 books in 81 years.

My Language Arts classes have been Skyping with Avi for the past eight years. Knowing how much I respect Avi, Dr. Hershey suggested that we bring him to Warwick. I didn’t think it was possible. But when I asked, the response was a resounding ‘YES’!!

Mrs. Patti Lapp


Reading Poppy in preparation.

When Avi came to Warwick, he came prepared.

To prepare Warwick students required another grant from the Warwick Education Foundation for a family reading program called One Book One School One Community. In March all 2,000 students from the four elementary schools were given the same book, so 2,000 Warwick families were reading and discussing Avi’s story of Poppy the mouse at the same time.

“It was exciting because we read the book and then the author came and we could ask questions,” says third-grader Nate Resnick of Kissel Hill elementary, who had fun reading Poppy at bedtime with his mother Becca and sister Meredith, a kindergartener. He told us about doing a map of the forest at school and “the real owls flying around from Hershey’s Zoo America.”


It was exciting because we read the book and then the author came, and we could ask questions.

Nate Resnick


Meredith liked “reading as a family” and the day she got to bring in a stuffed animal to school that reminded her of a character in the book, and another day when “they let us dress up like Poppy.”

One the highlights for Becca was when Avi “spent a couple of minutes talking with us” at the book signing. “It was really exciting for me because I remember reading The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle many times growing up. I went home to my parents’ house and pulled the book off the shelf and took that along with Poppy to the signing.” When Nate and Meredith are a little older, Becca looks forward to introducing them to Charlotte Doyle.

How do you measure the impact of imagination?

I love One Book and I’m thrilled that it’s a program the Foundation supports and brings to our schools. I hope it continues. Every year so far, we’ve been able to meet with the author. It really helps the children connect on a different level with the book.

Becca Resnick


“I love One Book and I’m thrilled that it’s a program the Foundation supports and brings to our schools and I hope it continues,” Becca Resnick adds. “Every year so far we’ve been able to meet with the author. It really helps the children connect on a different level with the book.”

Two thousand Warwick families have this opportunity every year, thanks to your donations to the Foundation in support of our amazing Warwick teachers.

And thousands of Warwick students had the opportunity to meet Avi and talk with him about books and writing—and to catch a little of the lightning he carries around in that imaginative mind.

It’s hard to think of any advance in science or technology, the arts or the humanities, engineering or mathematics, that didn’t spring from the power of the imagination.

No wonder we believe enriching our children’s education is the smartest investment we can make to strengthen our community.

Thank you again, thousands of times over, for your support of the Warwick Education Foundation.