Return to Headlines

Northside Fifth Graders Host Author Kwame Mbalia

Author Kwame Mbalia visited Northside Elementary School (NES) last January to meet young Navigators and discuss the first book in his Tristan Strong series entitled "Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky." Navigator Nation fell in love with the adventures of Tristan along with the dynamic characters in the book, especially Gum Baby! Northside fifth grade teachers and students were immensely excited to hear that the second book of the series, Tristan Strong Destroys the World, will be released this school year. 

Mbalia text from NES NES fifth grade teachers decided to do something very special for their students. They really wanted to lift the spirits of their students, who at times have difficulty with the reality of their last elementary year being virtual. With the help of NES Librarian Kat Cole, the teachers planned and had their Fifth Grade Virtual Read-in, on December 15, 2020.   

However, there was a special surprise in store. The students joined the Google Meet with excitement and were ready to participate in discussions around their favorite books and characters, and to hear stories read from the administrators at NES. Everything started out quite normally, and then they noticed a special name appear in the Google Meet. Author Kwame Mbalia joined the Meet, and he brought Gum Baby with him too. It was such an exciting and memorable moment for the students and staff alike.

Mbalia shared excerpts from his new book, answered burning questions from students, and delivered one last exciting surprise. The planning and forethought of the fifth grade teachers and support from Cole, with the help of CHCCS Director of Title One and Family and Community Engagement, Roslyn Moffitt, ensured that every fifth grade student would receive their very own copy of the new Tristan Strong book. Mbalia also sent special stickers for each student. The joy and elation was felt as if everyone was in the same room, although they were far apart. Students received their books on Friday, December 18th before heading into the Winter Break.  What an amazing memory for these young students and staff at Northside Elementary School! 

Author Mbalia at NES Northside Elementary is #NavigatorStrong with Tristan Strong! (contributed by NES Assistant Principal, Kirtisha Jones)