After eight trips to Rwanda and having her co-author, Rebeka Uwitonze, in her home for almost a year, Meredith Davis has a passion for other cultures and countries. She engages with kids through story and inspires them to care and advocate for those who are different. She has led story times and read-alouds in the classroom and library and coordinated author visits for years. She lives in Austin, Texas. Find her at www.meredithldavis.com.
Strong Like a Butterfly
Meredith talks about co-writing her book and compares the challenges in Rebeka’s life to the stages of a butterfly. Rebeka was despised at birth, crawled until age seven, and left her family to fly to America at age nine where a year of casts and surgeries transformed her feet, and her personality, from a timid girl to a confident leader. It is a moving and inspiring story that will show kids the importance of empathy and the power of persistence. Meredith will share pictures and a video where Rebeka answers kid’s questions and give kids a tour of her school and home in Rwanda.
Chance Comes Once
Rebeka left everything familiar behind: her home, family, even her language, to take a chance at surgery that could change her life. Meredith and her family took a chance and said “yes” to hosting a young stranger. Meredith will talk about the chances she and Rebeka took, not knowing what the outcome would be but recognizing that sometimes, as Rebeka’s father says, “chance comes once.” Kids will be challenged to look at their own lives and see where they could take a chance to make a difference in small and big ways. Inspiring photos and video will draw kids into Rebeka’s story.
Your Own Two Feet: A Writing Workshop
Drawing from Meredith’s experiences interviewing in Rwanda and co-writing Rebeka’s story, this hands-on, interactive writing workshop will teach students how to identify the important moments in their own stories by asking the right questions, and how to tell them with compelling details, in an order that builds to a satisfying end. Students will learn how to create their own “lifelines” filled with significant events as Meredith tracks the events kept and discarded in telling Rebeka’s story.