News Column

Stories through music: 'Pete the Cat' author performs at Ellis Middle School

April 24, 2014

By Jenae Peterson, Austin Daily Herald, Minn.

April 24--Laughs filled the Ellis Middle School Auditorium Wednesday evening as award-winning author and musician Eric Litwin performed one of his songs, requiring parents to hug, tickle and "throw" their children into the air.

Litwin, the author of the first four "Pete the Cat" children's books, visited Ellis for an interactive performance that featured stories, music and more to promote literacy.

His visit excited his fans even before the doors opened.

"I like this one," Madelyn Sash said before the show, pointing to her copy of "Pete the cat: Rocking in My School Shoes."

Sarah Sash, Madelyn's mother and a preschool teacher for the St. Olaf Learning Center, waited with Madelyn and her brother for the doors to open.

"We do a lot of 'Pete the Cat,'" Sarah said. "I always sing my own version of the song, so it'll be fun to hear how it actually goes."

Amy Goette helped organize the show with the Early Childhood Family Education Advisory Council, and she was excited at the opportunity to show the kids who actually writes some of their favorite books.

"Our kids are really big fans of Eric and Pete the Cat," Goette said. "All the teachers have been gearing up for it for the last couple weeks."

Goette also loves the positive message that comes with the "fun, catchy tune."

Litwin was also excited for the performance.

"I love performing the music and stories," Litwin said. "I would like the children to sing and feel a sense of enthusiasm toward literacy."

Litwin tours close to 200 schools and libraries a year. He began about 21 years ago as a teacher, using music and movement to teach his students. He's toured for almost 18 years.

"Music and books excite the reader, but it also helps them decipher and read the book," Litwin said. "It's easier to remember and figure out words when they are connected to a song."

His performance delighted children in the audience as he included them in his songs.

Litwin's next book, a musical series called "The Nuts." is scheduled to come out July 29. Litwin was scheduled to make a second appearance to some of the kids Thursday morning.


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Source: Austin Daily Herald (MN)