What is Mazza?

Jul 24, 2016

I just spent the last week at Mazza.  Earlier in the year I had made the decision that my summer would be filled with new learning, books, and inspiration.  And this has held true through a large selection of library books checked out, new experiences in the West, through passion and energy at Nerd Camp in Michigan, and by listening and absorbing the power of illustrations at the Mazza.

The Mazza is within Findley University in Ohio.  The walls are filled with original works of art from picture book illustrators.  Their goal is to promote literacy through picture books and they do so through the free museum, tours, conferences, and many other learning opportunities.

To look at the original works of art by my favorite authors and illustrators...speechless.

When I stand in front of the images above...I get chills.

The Mazza Summer conference was filled with authors and illustrators.  Some I knew and some I didn't.  But I gained so much from each one of them.  I learned about their background, process, reasons, path, and future goals.

There are autographing sessions and dinners each night with the artists.  Which provides another way to get to know, learn, and grow from each of them.

But what is my take away for me to bring back to my teaching and students.  Yes.  It was cool to meet authors, hang out with my blogging buddy Jennifer, and see some of my favorite art works.  But how does that impact what I do in the classroom?

This was an important question for me to ask myself because I was away from my family for 5 days.  I had just returned from Nerd Camp, where I had a fire lit under me for the love and passion of reading that I want for my students and a long list of things that I want to add to my teaching this year.

My answer: Connection.  I don't think I realized how disconnected I had become from my love of picture books.  When I read a book, I am always looking for its teaching value in the classroom.  What can I use this for?  Will it teach inferring, predicting, or author's purpose?

By listening to each author/illustrator, I felt connected to why they wrote the text.  I was reminded to look at the color, the line, and empty space.  I was reminded to pay attention to the words that were chosen and not chosen to be used.

By listening to each author/illustrator, I was reminded how powerful it is to feel connected.  That I can take this back to my classroom.  When we feel connected to the books we are reading, our love and passion grows. Our students love and passion grows.

I am thankful to Jennifer, the Mazza, and the authors/illustrators for reminding me of what it means to be connected.

(This post was purely from my love of Mazza.  There was no other reason that I wrote this post.)


  1. My experience with Mazza last fall was awesome! It sounds like you had a great week learning and growing. So glad you had that opportunity!

  2. Thanks for sharing about your time at The Mazza. I need to learn to look at books about how I can use them. I only use them for fun! Happy July!!!

  3. It looks like a beautiful place to visit. I'm throwing my weight into connecting with read-alouds this year even more than usual. I'm hoping for great things.


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