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Books inspire student creativity at the Second Annual SLAM Showcase

March 28, 2018 - Student Success

On Tuesday, March 20 the Tampa Convention Center was filled with more than 800 Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) students from elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and exceptional centers who shared their inspiration and love of reading through artistic venues at the Second Annual SLAM Showcase. SLAM, which stands for Student Literacy and Media, is a program unique to HCPS and offered by the district Library Media Services department.

"SLAM is an opportunity for our students to shine as readers, writers, and creators," said Supervisor for Library Media Services K-5 John Milburn.

Five authors from the award-nominated reading lists were invited to speak to the students, sharing their thoughts, their ideas, hopes, and dreams, and their excitement about being an author. Grades K-2 students met illustrator Henry Cole. Grades 3-5 students were honored to meet author Sharon Robinson (Jackie Robinson's daughter!). Grades 6-8 and 9-12 students experienced a "con"-style author panel with authors Christina Diaz Gonzalez, James Ponti and Sarvenaz Tash.  

Every student in attendance received a free book from the appropriate author. Barnes & Noble was on-site with a "POP-UP" book shop, selling additional titles of books from the attending authors. One of the best parts of the day (according to an informal poll taken that day) was the opportunity for students to take part in a book-signing with the authors who spent the day entertaining and teaching the children. Lines were long, and smiles were huge (on the faces of both students and authors) as the youth got to meet and greet with their chosen author.

Sally Harris, School Board Chair, was excited to attend the event, and enthusiastically applauded the students who "got to come together because of a real interest and love for reading!" 

In order for students to become involved with SLAM, several steps had to be completed prior to the district showcase. Earlier in the year, participating students read books from the 2017-18 Florida state award-nominated lists (Florida Reading Association, Sunshine State Young Readers and Florida Teens Read), then created 2D artwork, 3D artwork and/or videos inspired by the book(s) they read, and wrote a brief "Reader's Statement" sharing how their piece was inspired by the book.  The next step was a SLAM Showcase held at each school site to celebrate the students' works. Each school then selected one piece from each category (for grade levels K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) to send to the district showcase. Those students’ works were then shared in Art Festival and Film Festival rooms all across the convention center. 

Author information, reading lists and a video from the day's activities are available on the SLAM page of the Library Media Services' website at

For more highlights of the day's events, search #hubofschool and/or view the SLAM Showcase twitter page at

For more information about SLAM, please contact either Kimbery Defusco, Supervisor, Library Media Services 6-12 or John Milburn, Supervisor, Library Media Services K-5 at 813-840-7020.   



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