Academy teacher Sara Ajisafe first contacted Deedy to arrange a presentation of her books for the school’s second, fourth and fifth graders. The appearance and reading was conducted last month.
To cover Deedy’s typical appearance fee of $1,600, Ajisafe spearheaded a special fundraising effort. Upon hearing the academy had to raise money to cover the appearance, Deedy then turned around and gave the money back to the school in the form of a donation to the library fund.
“I really wanted to expose the students to a unique opportunity that would give them a different perspective on writing,” said Ajisafe, discussing the experience. “I want my students, and all TMSA students, to love writing and understand that inspiration for writing can come from everywhere. Carmen Agra Deedy really helped them understand this. I am thankful that we were able to raise the money and was elated when she offered it back to the school.”
Deedy has been writing for children for more than two decades. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1964. She grew up in Decatur, where she lives today. Her children’s books have won numerous awards. “The Library Dragon” received various children’s state book awards and has sold near half a million copies.
In 2003 the book was Georgia’s choice to represent the state at the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. Deedy’s book, “14 Cows for America,” is based on an astonishing gift Americans received from a Maasai village in Kenya, following the events of 9/11 and is a New York Times Bestseller.