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To the bookmobile, Cecil Rhodes!

Cecil Rhodes School is delivering words on wheels.

With the school's library currently being used as a Grade 3 classroom to allow for physical distancing during COVID-19, Cecil Rhodes librarian Darlene McKenzie is bringing books straight to students with her super cool book cart.

Every month or so, McKenzie decorates the book cart in a different theme.

"Our first cart in September was a book bus," said McKenzie, who is also a technology and STEAM teacher.

"I decorated the cart with a yellow school bus and had a pigeon driving the bus. The theme is from a book by Mo Willems called Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The students loved it. They knew that the pigeon wasn't allowed to drive the bus so it filled them with laughter."

As autumn became winter, McKenzie told the students that the bus was "in the shop for maintenance."

"Our library bus morphed into The Polar Express," said McKenzie, speaking of the train from the 2004 film The Polar Express. "It had sound effects and a light in the front. It went down the hall going 'Woo! Woo!' so the kids could hear it coming before I got to the door. The excitement was building even before I got there."

Now, McKenzie's book cart has taken the shape of a Minion from the 2015 computer-animated film Minions.

"Our Minion has a sign that says, 'We have a Minion reasons why we love reading' and on the reverse it says, 'Minions of books… so little time.' This transformation will last for the month of February for I Love to Read Month," McKenzie said.

McKenzie had a school technician load the Cecil Rhodes library program to a laptop so that students can check out books without leaving their classrooms. Returned books are quarantined for one week before they are put back into circulation.

In addition to books, McKenzie is also delivering Cecil Rhodes MakerSpace program to students. The hands-on MakerSpace program isn't running this year due to COVID-19.

"I made every student in the school a challenge kit to take home at Christmas time with MakerSpace supplies," McKenzie said. "Everyone got a kit to make a marshmallow catapult. It was just something different they could do because I knew they'd be home for a few weeks."

Whether she's pushing a bus, a train or a Minion, McKenzie loves to spread the joy of reading from classroom to classroom. 

"It's been such a pleasure to bring the books and lessons to our students. It's so exciting when the book vehicle arrives," McKenzie said.


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