A talented fourth grader from John F. Kennedy Elementary School had her original book read and performed in front of her entire school when students, teachers and administrators packed the school’s gymnasium on Feb. 7.
Giuliana Muñoz won a schoolwide competition for her book, “The Show: A Story About Friendship,” which was inspired by Mo Willems’ best-selling “Elephant & Piggie” book series. She was among 40 fourth and fifth graders who entered the competition for a chance to have their work performed during the World Read Aloud Day kickoff performance.
“Giuliana’s book had all the components a good ‘Elephant & Piggie’ story needs – appealing characters, a relatable conflict and a satisfying resolution,” Principal Judy Diaz said. “We particularly liked the theme of friendship and conflict resolution through compromise and creative thinking. We appreciated that the story would be relatable to her fellow students and provide the positive message that being a good friend means listening to others and finding a way to play together.”
Complete with costumes and a set design, the gymnasium was filled with enthusiastic cheers by students who showed their support for Muñoz. Diaz took on the role of Piggie, while Assistant Principal Jennifer Mundo took on the role of Elephant, Assistant Principal Colleen Moore portrayed Snake, and K-5 District Literacy Instructional Support Specialist Samantha Calvert took on the role of Cat. In addition, Ingrid Gomez served as director, costume and set designer; Michelle Capparelli, Jeanine Maiolini, Diana Pennino and Miriam Valdovinos served as stage crew members; and Jamie Rubino served as World Read Aloud Day coordinator. Prior to the performance, Muñoz worked alongside Gomez to focus the storyline and transform it to theater.
“She embodies all we encourage our students to be and do: to take risks, put forth their best effort, apply feedback, and fearlessly share their creativity and genius with the world,” Moore said. “The poise and confidence with which she narrated her published piece was just the icing on the cake. Guiliana is a newcomer to the country, having just arrived to Port Chester from her native Ecuador a year ago, thus making her ability to craft and confidently narrate her story in her second language quite impressive.”
Diaz said she was proud of Guiliana’s talent for crafting an exceptional story that originally had several different subplots and a complex story line. While this was the first year that administrators performed a book that was written and narrated by a student, they have been performing “Elephant & Piggie” books as part of World Read Aloud Day celebrations since 2017.
“The performance could not be possible without the dedication of several JFK teachers and staff who work relentlessly behind the scenes to provide our students and staff with the best possible performance and World Read Aloud Day experience every year,” Diaz said.
Click here to view the photo slideshow.