Each week throughout the school year volunteers from the Greater St. Cloud Area Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) (Lisa J. Braun, Director) visit local classrooms as part of the “Readers’ Theater” group sharing their passion of reading with elementary school students. RSVP volunteers (ages 55 and better) bring stories to life by reading from scripts using their voices to convey emotion from many classic children’s stories.
On Friday, April 29th, the RSVP Readers’ Theater visited Kennedy Elementary in St. Joseph to read to students. Little did the kids know, the volunteers had a special surprise for them when it came time to read “Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill”, a commonly requested story read to students ages kindergarten through 3rd grade. The author of the story, Bob Fulton (of Avon, MN), was there to read the book he wrote to the students!
Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill is an enchanting story about a pickle who was born without any pickle bumps. The story contains a message addressing diversity and acceptance; topics which are becoming increasingly important and relevant in our schools today.
The RSVP Readers’ Theater introduced the author of the book as the kids sat enthusiastically listening to Bob read the story. Following the reading, Bob explained to the Kennedy Elementary students that he has 4 grandchildren who he loves to read to. Bob continued telling the students how his grandchildren were getting tired of the same old bedtime stories which prompted one of Bob’s grandchildren, Peter, to ask Bob to tell them a story about a pickle. The result of Peter’s request was a unique story about a pickle which included a powerful message.
Bob talked about the journey he took to write the book and get it published which included seven to eight drafts of the story over about one year’s time. Bob also commented about the steps he went through with St. Joseph artist, Melissa Meyer, as she illustrated the book. Bob stated the process was well worth the end result of his hard work and effort as the book is a “fun, colorful and beautifully illustrated story about Baby Dill, who was born without pickle bumps.”
In a handout about the book, author Bob Fulton and his wife, Jackie, say “we think that the positive message of this story, which is one of supporting those with differences, can help change the dynamics of a potential bullying situation by helping students to understand and accept that it’s OK to be different. The story is not about bullying- in fact, bullying is never mentioned. Instead, the story uses a positive approach, promoting the idea that supporting and accepting those with differences is a good thing.”
Teachers love to use the story in their classroom as it provides a smooth segue to open a discussion about bullying and truly inspires students to treat all of their classmates with respect and acceptance. One teacher said “the message of the book is wonderful. The book opens up avenues for classroom discussions on being happy with who you are.”
It was easy to see the students at Kennedy Elementary enjoyed listening to the story. After Bob read the book he asked the group of 2nd graders “what do you think the message of this story is?” One student responded with “being different is neat!” Another student added “being different makes the world more fun.” Listening to these and other comments from the Kennedy 2nd graders confirmed that the subtle lesson and message of the story was obvious to the students.
It is likely the RSVP Readers’ Theater volunteers along with the students and teachers at Kennedy Elementary both would agree with Seal Dwyer at the North Star Press who states “Bob Fulton’s Pickle Bumps for Baby Dill is a bright, colorful story of a young pickle’s journey to self-acceptance. This book is full of original ideas, tongue twisters, and fun for all ages. I highly recommend it!”
RSVP would like to thank Bob for adding a fun surprise to the Readers’ Theater presentation. RSVP looks forward to continuing to partner with Bob in the future as Bob hinted to the children there may be a sequel to Baby Dill’s story coming in the future!
If you are interested in learning more about being part of the RSVP Readers’ Theater or volunteering through RSVP please visit the RSVP website at www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/RSVP or call the RSVP office at (320)255-7295.