Author of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” visits HES

Chicka chicka boom boomAward-winning author John Archambault reads his book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" to Helena Elementary School kindergarten students during a Nov. 17 presentation. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Chicka chicka boom boomAward-winning author John Archambault reads his book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” to Helena Elementary School kindergarten students during a Nov. 17 presentation. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HELENA—Helena Elementary School students took a break from the regular school day to sing, clap, imagine and read with best-selling children’s author John Archambault on Nov. 17.

Best known for his popular book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” Archambault has written numerous award-winning books, some of which he read to the HES students during the four presentations he gave at the school.

“Books are magic, books are fun, there’s a book for everyone,” a group of kindergarten students enthusiastically repeated after Archambault during an afternoon presentation.

Archambault brought his stories to life through music and dramatic reading. Kindergartners sang along to “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” were transported to northern Minnesota in “Barn Dance” and took an imaginary merry-go-round ride in “Up and Down on the Merry-Go-Round.”

“It’s slowing things down so they have the cinema in their mind,” Archambault said, noting the power and importance of imagination. “I just think it’s vital.”

Students got a sneak peak into Archambault’s next story about a boy with a magic bookmark that allows him to “fall into a book.” Like many of his other works, the story is inspired by something from his life, Archambault told the children. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” was inspired by a cheer he heard and “Toot! Toot! Quack! Quack!” stemmed from a conversation with a 4-and-a-half-year-old fan.

Archambault told the students stories of reading with his Grandmother in California, and encouraged the students to read with their families and “get lost in a book.”

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the fact that somebody read to me,” Archambault said to the kindergartners. “To be a writer, you’ve got to be a reader.”