The Bernie Jones Assembly - Author-In-School Program with Piano Man

Sharon Bushell and piano-man Johnny B. are definitely a dynamic duo. Their author-in-the-school/music assembly opens doors to reading and writing in innovative and exciting ways. Students are left with a "can do" attitude regarding the pleasures of reading and writing as well as their own unique areas of creativity.

Sharon Bushell and Johnny B.

Sharon Bushell and Johnny B. have over forty years experience performing and working with school audiences. Sharon's books are listed with Accelerated Reader and Scholastic's Reading Counts! programs. She also received the 2003 Alaska Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities. Johnny B. is a retired teacher with a masters degree in education and over forty-five years of piano performances.
In 2004, after sending their two children off to college, Sharon and Johnny B. took to the road from their home in Homer, Alaska. To date over thousands upon thousands of K-12 students have experienced The Bernie Jones Assembly. Listed on this link is the phone number of schools they visited since 2004. Call them. The Bernie Jones Assembly was loved by students and staff. From start to finish, every word, every gesture, every song had educational value. Plus it's fun!

55 Minutes of Professional, Educational Fun

Johnny B. begins The Bernie Jones Assembly with a rousing boogie-woogie. This segues into an original "softer" composition which demonstrates the writing of a story without words. Johnny B.'s ability to control audiences of 600 plus students is legendary. It is immediately obvious to teachers that he has spent many years in classroom. Sharon then takes the stage with a dramatic reading from one of her 1950s-era books; The Trouble With Bernie or Bernie Jones and the Blazing Bandits. Johnny B. compliments the reading with special piano effects and music. With the school's permission, parents and grandparents are encouraged to attend.
After the reading, questions are solicited from the audience. Answers always support the ever-increasing excitement of reading and the many rewards of writing. The more you read the better your writing becomes.
After questions and answers, Johnny B. performs a well-known hit from the 1950s, then directs the students back to the classroom, snapping their fingers to another infamous theme.
This fifty-five minute program is guaranteed to hold the attention of any K-6 audience.
"Whatever you dream of, do it a little bit each day and that dream will become a reality."
The Bernie Jones books' thirteen-year-old illustrator, Katie Miller, is a splendid example of this.


2010-2011 fee is $850 for the assembly. However, the fee is $350 when the following-day book signing is scheduled.
($600 for back-to-back assemblies at the same location with the following-day book signing) or $1500 for back-to-back assemblies without the book signing.

The fee always includes lesson plans and activities, the 55 minute or 45 minute assembly, 2 complimentary books pre program for your library, and the following-day book signing.

The book signing has always been a positive follow-up for the presentation. The students love to own a book signed by the author especially after experiencing the presentation.
A week prior to the actual assembly, we will be shipping your school two cases of books that we will have available for the students the day after the assembly. During the program Johnny B. will explain that Sharon and he will return the following day with books for anyone interested. He will show the audience the flier and explain that they need to 'bring this order form home today and show it to your parents.' The school's assembly coordinator is responsible for printing and distributing the BOOK SIGNING FORM which is available at < >. This form is to go home the day of the program and not before.

The day after the assembly Sharon and Johnny B. will return to your school at a specified time. In most cases, we can determine the book signing time ahead of time through E-mail but can easily be determined the day before at the assembly.

Your assembly coordinator only needs to have a table and two chairs available and a method of calling students by class or group. Students line up with Johnny B. who takes their form with payment and hands them their books. Checks are made out to Sharon Bushell. The student then brings the book to Sharon who autographs them and sends the student back to class.

The length of each Book Signing depends, of course, on how many students are interested in having their own copy or copies of Sharon's books. This is another place where the assembly coordinator really helps out. The more familiar the students are with Sharon's characters and stories the more they will want to read.
The book signing should take less than forty-five minutes.

Do get the students excited about Sharon's characters and stories. Don't wait until the day before the assembly to explain who Bernie Jones is.
Do read the first chapter of The Trouble With Bernie to the students before the assembly. Don't be afraid to read it dramatically. Sharon will, in most schools, be reading Chapter 2, The Beehive.
Do let the students know that they will be given an opportunity to purchase an autographed book. Don't forget to have books available for checkout in the library
Do let the teachers know about the book signing days before the assembly. Don't forget to let Sharon and Johnny B. know about the one or two students who just can't afford a book.

Teachers can read the books; read story segments on this website; go over the challenging vocabulary; learn about the author; discuss stories; talk about life in the 1950s; discuss Alaska; learn about the illustrator; and develop good questions which can be asked in the assembly.

FACT: If the teachers and students don't know about the author and her books they will enjoy the program but not get as much out of it as they should. The assembly coordinator can send out a bulletin to all teachers; design a display case highlighting parts of the books; announce the date of the assembly to the parents; make sure the books are available in the library/media center; and advertise the event on the outside reader board and in the local press.

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