Mossby’s Magic Carpet Handbook is meant to inspire young people’s imagination about travel, adventure, seeing the world from unusual perspectives, and more. For starters, it can be used as a writing prompt: Where would you go on a magic carpet?
It’s also full of teachable tie-ins related to science and art, especially for students ages 7 through 12.
Getting ready for a magic carpet flight does, after all, require knowing a thing or two about gravity, G-forces, altitude, air pressure, and–if all else fails–wilderness survival skills.
Students might enjoy learning how to design their own magic carpet with symbols, or one with a tesselating pattern; explore concepts of air resistance by creating a small parachute (to use with an egg); and build a working compass for use on long trips.
Or, students might study how the book is written to be clear and engaging : “We Are Teachers” put it on its list of “Favorite Mentor Texts for How-To or Procedural Writing.” Not bad for a book that’s partly fiction!
Author Ilona Bray is also available to do school visits, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s a regular visitor to Seattle, Washington, and Buffalo, New York, as well. And it doesn’t hurt to ask about other locations.
School visits include a 1/2 hour to 45 minute performance. Ilona appears in costume (as a magic carpet factory worker). She presents fun science demonstrations and engages the audience with questions as well as opportunities to take part in experiments. She will also, if requested, discuss the path to becoming a published author.
Fees are negotiable, based on distance traveled, number of presentations, and whether the school is willing to arrange preorders of the book (which can become a school fundraiser, with a percentage of sales returned to the school by the publisher).
Expect both laughter and eager participation as Ilona discusses important concerns like, “How will you find your way home?” “What happens if you fall off?” and “Why do you fart more as you fly higher?”
Testimonial from school librarian Robin Ludmer, in Piedmont, CA:
Do not invite author Ilona Bray to your school if you expect a dignified speech about an author’s work. Invite her because she will delight , inform and surprise your students with her giddy enthusiasm for science concepts and creative writing. We can’t keep her book on the shelf. It simply flies out the door with student after student. Her presentation is truly magical!
Testimonial from a parent in Seattle, WA:
“I chuckled, giggled, laughed, and chortled during her entire performance.”
Testimonial from 2nd-grade teacher Michelle O’Connor at Mohr Elementary in Pleasanton, CA. (Discussing Author Day, in which Ilona Bray and other local authors participated.):
“All of the presentations were thoughtful, entertaining and educational … My class could easily feel the overflowing amounts of love, time and pride that was put into each and every book … These amazing authors clearly did not give up — an excellent message to send to our young writers. “It was truly a magical day.”