Fun Fall Activities in the Pasadena Area!

by Jessica on September 29, 2017

We’re highlighting a few fun Fall activities around Pasadena to fill those cooler (hopefully) weekends!

12th Annual Pasadena ArtWalk
Saturday, October 14
This annual favorite comes back in full swing again this October!
Pasadena ArtWalk is Pasadena’s largest urban art fair with over 5,000 people attending yearly.  The event highlights some of the best Southern Californian visual artists showcasing their work in painting, sculpture, watercolor, photography, mixed media, ceramics, jewelry, drawings, and print making.

Japanese Garden Festival
Descanso Gardens
Saturday October 14 and Sunday October 15
Admission: General $9. Seniors 65 and over/Students $6. Children (5 to 12 years) $4.
Descanso members and children under 5 free.
The Japanese Garden Festival will be held at the beautiful Descanso Gardens. This family-friendly festival celebrates Japanese art and culture including a tour of the Japanese Garden, taiko drum performances and much more. Activities are free with admission unless noted.

Craftsman Weekend
Pasadena Convention Center
Friday, October 27-Sunday, October 29
Pasadena Heritage presents the 26th Annual Craftsman Weekend, the largest and most comprehensive salute to the Arts & Crafts Movement in the western United States. Programming at Craftsman Weekend includes tours of significant Craftsman-era houses, bus and walking tours, an exposition show and sale, a silent auction, unique presentations, and exclusive evening receptions at historic sites.

Any other fun fall activities you know of that you’d like to add?
Let us know in the comments!


October is a great month for so many different things! We’ve got some great events on the calendar and we want to make sure you don’t miss out on them!


Friday, October 13, 7PM
at the Pasadena Hilton (International Ballroom)
Vroman’s Bookstore presents JOEY GRACEFFA!

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant #1 New York Times bestseller Children of Eden.

Two girls, one destiny.  Yarrow is an elite: rich, regal, destined for greatness. She’s the daughter of one of the most powerful women in Eden. At the exclusive Oaks boarding school, she makes life miserable for anyone foolish enough to cross her. Her life is one wild party after another…until she meets a fascinating, lilac-haired girl named Lark.  Meanwhile, there is Rowan, who has been either hiding or running all her life. As an illegal second child in a strictly regulated world, her very existence is a threat to society, punishable by death…or worse. After her father betrayed his family, and after her mother was killed by the government, Rowan discovered a whole city of people like herself. Safe in an underground sanctuary that also protected the last living tree on Earth, Rowan found friendship, and maybe more, in a fearless hero named Lachlan. But when she was captured by the government, her fate was uncertain.  When these two girls discover the thread that binds them together, the collision of memories means that their lives may change drastically–and that Eden may never be the same. (Atria Books)

There are four ticket options:

1) Eden Package, $21.00 (plus tax & fees):

-Admission to Q&A with Joey Graceffa featuring Daniel Preda
-One pre-signed copy of Elites of Eden
-Commemorative tour lanyard
-Exclusive tour-only Elites of Eden poster

2) Eden Package Plus Companion, $26.00 (plus tax & fees): Adds ONE extra seat to the Eden Package for a parent or guardian, over 21 years of age.

3) Elite Package, $42.00 (plus tax & fees):

-Admission, with VIP seating, to Q&A with Joey Graceffa featuring Daniel Preda
-Backstage selfie “photo op” with Joey Graceffa (must bring your own camera)
TWO pre-signed copies of Elites of Eden (one to keep and one to share!)
-VIP commemorative tour lanyard
-Exclusive tour-only signed Elites of Eden poster

4) Elite Package Plus Companion, $47.00 (plus tax & fees): Adds ONE extra seat to the Elite Package for a parent or guardian, over 21 years of age. Companion will not be admitted to meet & greet photo op.


Monday, October 16, 7pm
at All Saints Church
Vroman’s Bookstore presents Ron Chernow in conversation with Bill Deverell presenting and signing Grant

Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.

Ulysses S. Grant’s life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don’t come close to capturing him, as Chernow sows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.

Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had ended dismally, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in war, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign, and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Along the way, Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. Grant’s military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff members.

This is a ticketed event and will take place at All Saints Church at 132 N Euclid Ave, Pasadena. Tickets: $41.00 + tax – includes one copy of Grant. Tickets are available at Eventbrite. If there are any questions please call Vroman’s at (626) 449-5320 or visit us at



Fall Into A Good Book

by Jessica on September 23, 2017

Today on the blog we’re giving you the most anticipated books that will be out this Fall. Plus, I’ll let you know if any of these great authors will be appearing in store! What are you excited to read this Fall?
Let us know in the comments!



Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesamyn Ward
Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

*Celeste Ng stops by Vroman’s Main Store to present Little Fires Everywhere on Friday, October 6!*
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Manhattan Beach
by Jennifer Egan
October 3
Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.


Mystery, Thriller, Crime


A Legacy of Spies
by John Le Carre
*Vroman’s Bestseller!*
Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.

by Dan Brown
October 3
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement–the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough…one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

by Andy Weir
November 14
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself–and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.




Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir
by Amy Tan
October 17

In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan is at her most intimate in revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals, and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional nucleus of her novels.

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook
by Alice Waters
The long-awaited memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America’s most influential restaurant.


 Current Events
The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
by Masha Gessen
October 3
*Masha Gessen will be in conversation with David Ulin on Tuesday, October 10 at Vroman’s Main Store!*
Hailed for her “fearless indictment of the most powerful man in Russia” ( The Wall Street Journal), award-winning journalist Masha Gessen is unparalleled in her understanding of the events and forces that have wracked her native country in recent times. In The Future Is History, she follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own–as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings.
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
October 3
“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”
Gold Dust Woman: A Biography of Stevie Nicks
by Stephen Davis
November 21
Gold Dust Woman gives “the gold standard of rock biographers” (The Boston Globe) his ideal topic: Nicks’ work and life are equally sexy and interesting, and Davis delves deeply into each, unearthing fresh details from new, intimate interviews and interpreting them to present a rich new portrait of the star. Just as Nicks (and Lindsay Buckingham) gave Fleetwood Mac the “shot of adrenaline” they needed to become real rock stars—according to Christine McVie—Gold Dust Woman is vibrant with stories and with a life lived large and hard:



We just started carrying a new book that will really help step up your athletic game this summer! If you’re a serious athlete who plans to do some serious training this summer you’re going to want to check out this book.

The Brave Athlete by Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson covers the 13 most common mental obstacles athletes face in their everyday training and in races. This book will help you take control of your brain so you can train harder, race faster, and better enjoy your sport. This book will help you solve mental obstacles to make your brain stronger so that it becomes your most powerful tool.

Dr. Marshall is a sport psychology expert who trains the brains of elite professional athletes. Paterson is a three-time world champion triathlete and coach. Together, this husband-and-wife team offers their innovative, brain training guide that is the first to draw from both clinical science and real-world experience with athletes.

They have just put out this great video talking more about the book! Check it out!


If you’d like more information about the book visit their website here.


Vroman’s Kids’ Week 2017!

by Jessica on June 16, 2017

Kids’ Week is back and this year is going to be a blast! Come on out the week of July 17-21 for a week of free activities for kids of all ages! All these events will take place outside on the Vroman’s Paseo. We are asking you to sign-up. So if you’d like you sign up for any of these events please give Customer Service a call at 626-449-5320 or send us an e-mail at!

Monday, July 17
Brain Quest Day!
Come decked out in your favorite explorer gear and get ready to go on a Brain Quest! You’ll spend the morning working in teams to figure out puzzles and problems. We’ll have a craft station to make your own Explorer Binoculars and play Marshmallow Geometry.

Tuesday, July 18
Vroman’s Science Club!
Let’s grab our lab coats and safety glasses and have a science themed morning. We’ll make slime, lava lamps and fizzing bath dough!

Wednesday, July 19
Junk Re-Thunk: Turn Your Trash Into Toys! w/ special guest author Brian Yanish!
Join us this morning as we make recycled crafts and hear how we can turn our trash into toys! We will have special author guest Brian Yanish here to present his book Junk Re-Thunk followed by a recycled craft workshop where we will be making a special craft led by Brian, our own birdfeeders and starter gardens.

About Brian Yanish: At age six Author/Illustrator Brian Yanish (ScrapKins: Junk Re-Thunk, Holt 2016) created a series of monsters that became the ScrapKins, a tribe of creatures who build their world from things we throw away. Today Brian travels to schools, museums, and festivals inspiring kids to make amazing interactive art from junk every family has at home. Brian has created programs for Whole Foods, The American Museum of Natural History, Maker Faire, Scholastic Afterschool and even appeared on Sesame Street. Join us for a special “Recycled Toy” making workshop and book signing. Copies of ScrapKins: Junk Re-Thunk will be available for sale and Brian is happy to sign them.

Thursday, July 20
It’s a Vroman’s Dance Party!

Come learn a short choreographed routine from a studio dancer. Summer Burlingham from Athletic Garage Dance Studio will lead pre-dance stretching (safety first!), demonstrate some popular dance choreography and teach you a short routine you can show off to all your friends! Be sure to come in comfortable clothing.

Summer Burlingham is a member of the Athletic Garage Dance Team which competes all over the state and have won numerous awards including the AG USA All Stars Open Jazz National Champions 2014 and the American Championship Open jazz National Champions 2016.

Friday, July 21
Field Day!
Head to Vroman’s for a good ol’ fashioned Field Day! We’ll be playing tons of games and have activities like sidewalk chalk drawing, balloon tosses, bubble games, limbo, parachute games, sack races and relays! Afterwards we’ll make S’mores Pops to have as a snack! (We will be outside of the parking lot entrance in the Vroman’s Paseo area for these activities.)


This is the Summer You Write Your Book!

by Jessica on June 12, 2017

Stop putting off writing that book you’ve already wanted to write. Stop writer’s block in its tracks. This summer register for one (or both) of our writing workshops to help keep you motivated and surrounded by peers who are also writing! Check out these amazing workshops we have going on!


Fiction As Experiment: A Writing Course

June 8, 15, 22, 29, and
July 6, 13,
7:30pm – 9:30pm

Cost: $275 per person

This is a 6 week course and you will be enrolling in all 6 classes.
Enrollment is limited. 

In this course, we’ll examine the basics of fiction technique through readings of short fiction, such as Joy Williams, Lucia Berlin, and Donald Barthelme, and through our own writing exercises. We’ll keep an eye towards experimentation, the spirit of which will allow us to understand craft better and to develop our distinctive voices and styles as writers. Assuming the mere act of writing fiction is an experiment for many of us, we’ll also discuss how we may enter into and sustainably exist in that practice. Each student will have the opportunity to workshop a short manuscript by course’s end.

Instructor: Marion Bright has an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in such places as DigBoston, Slushpile Magazine, and Pine Magazine. She’s taught creative writing, literature, and composition at various colleges and universities. 

Memoir Writing Class with Debra Ginsberg

July 20, 27, August 3, 10, 17, and 24

7:30pm – 9:30pm

Cost: $275 per person

This is a 6 week course and you will be enrolling in all 6 classes. Enrollment is limited. 

Every life is a story waiting to be told. The only question is how best to tell that story. In this course, students will learn how to start, structure, and complete a memoir. We will discuss turning specific personal narratives into stories that have a beginning, middle, and end and learn how to avoid common writing mistakes. We will explore the elements of successful memoirs, including theme, narrative, and dialogue, and how to develop those elements. Students will also receive writing prompts and exercises, handouts, and critiques. By the end of the course, students will have all the tools they need to channel the creative process into writing their memoirs.

Instructor: Debra Ginsberg is the author of the award-winning and bestselling memoirs, Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress, Raising Blaze: A Mother and Son’s Long, Strange Journey Into Autism, and About My Sisters. She is also the author of the novels Blind Submission, New York Times Notable and SCIBA Mystery Award winner The Grift, The Neighbors Are Watching, and SCIBA Mystery Award winner, What the Heart Remembers. Debra’s work has been translated into fourteen languages. A book reviewer, workshop leader, and contributor to NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Debra has been a professional freelance editor for over twenty years.


For more information or to register for any one of our writing workshops, please call Customer Service at(626) 449-5320. All classes will take place in the Vroman’s Meeting Room, Suite 120 located next door to Vroman’s Main Store in the Atrium at 709 E. Colorado Blvd. Suite 120.

Indulge in Par Avion Tea!

by Jessica on June 9, 2017

We are pretty ecstatic to be carrying Par Avion Tea – a beautiful new line of teas. Par Avion aims to enhance the beauty of life. The teas are produced in an artisan method by hand picking and hand sorting only the finest ingredients to be prepared in small batches. Each tin purchased provides a day of education for a child in need.

Par Avion has also just launched a new luxury skincare line. These body soaks are rich in green tea anioxidants, botanicals and super foods. The lines goal is to detox and revive your skin using natural ingredients.

We have both lines displayed right in the front of our Home Emporium section,
so the next time you’re in browsing check them out!



Cinematic Literature!

by Jessica on June 5, 2017

These days a lot of what you’re seeing the big and little screens has been adapted or based on literature past and present. I’ve put together a list of the most popular cinematic literature that has come about this year. How do they stack up to the original writings? Well, that’s for you to find out!


13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This book came out in 2007 and was an instant best-seller. It continued to top the charts and spread via word of mouth for years. This year, Netflix picked it up for a 13-episode TV show. The novel follows a boy named Clay who mysteriously receives a box of cassettes in the mail from a girl named Hannah, who committed suicide. The reviews for this one are pretty good although there is some push back because of the imagery that is presented towards the end of the series. It’s worth checking out. All 13 episodes are available to stream on Netflix now!

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman has pretty loyal fans and this book was a hit among them and rocked the literary world in the process. It’s been a few years since the release – 2013 but it hasn’t lost any momentum since then. It has won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Bram Stoker awards. The Starz Network picked up this book and turned it into a new series. The book follows Shadow, a man who returns to his hometown to find that the love of his life and best friend are both dead. He’s left to fit the pieces together. Give the railer a watch here.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This novel was released in 1985 and since then has grown in popularity. It has topped our store best sellers for some time and been recommended by staff over and over as a must-read. It’s a futuristic dysptopian novel set during a time when a radical group has taken over the government and has started to instill extreme tactics on the repression of women. This past April, it burst onto the scene as a Hulu original series starring Elisabeth Moss (of Mad Men fame). Another one that is gaining a ton of press and fame. New episodes are released weekly!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A more recent novel that came out in 2014. This book followed three different women in the same town dealing with their own set of unique problems but are all connected in some way to a murder. Who was murdered and why? The 7 episode TV series premiered on HBO in February and took the media by storm. Each episode was intense and left you wanting more. With a stellar cast that included Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley this one is worth begging to borrow someone’s HBO password for! Watch the trailer here.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The ever popular Middle Grade book series finally made the leap to the little screen. These books are about the orphaned Baudelaire children and the trials and tribulations they face (including the evil Count Olaf) while trying to uncover the scret of their parents’ death. Netflix picked this up and it stars Neil Patrick Harris and John Cusack! Catch the whole series on streaming now.


The Son by Phillip Meyer
Released just a few years ago in 2014, this one became a fast hit. Now, AMC has picked it up and it stars Pierce Brosnan as the charismatic Texas rancher and leading man, Eli McCullough. The Son is a 10-episode series that traces the McCullough family across 150 year and three generations, focusing on Eli’s transformation from hard-working family man to killer. Another fun fact is that Phillip Meyer is writing it so we know it has to have some great ties to the book!

I’m Dying Up Here by William Knoedelseder
In the mid-1970s, several hundred comedians migrated to Los Angeles to try and make it in the business. Back then, William Knoedelseder was a young reporter covering the local comedy scene for the L.A. Times. The book tells the story of that time. Now, Showtime has picked it up as original programming. The series premiered last night (Sunday, June 4). If the first episode is any indication of what the rest of the series is going to look like you’re going to want to watch the whole thing. Check out the trailer here


Let me know if you’ve seen any of these, what your thoughts of them are…did they stick to the book? Deviate a lot of a little?

Happy watching! — Jess

Vroman’s is proud to announce the 2017 Teacher of the Year!
Mrs. Melinda Burkhart of Lincoln Elementary School!

Join us TONIGHT as we celebrate Mrs. Melinda Burkhart, Lincoln Elementary and all educators at our Teacher of the Year Celebration.
In addition to the award presentation, we will be serving light refreshments, and giving out a special discount to those in attendance.

Hazel D. Sonanes nominated Mrs. Melinda Burkhart of Lincoln Elementary

For Teacher of the Year, I would like to nominate Mrs. Melinda Burkhart, from Lincoln Elementary, located in La Crescenta. She currently teaches first grade. There is no one more caring, dedicated and loving than Mrs. Burkhart.

My name is Hazel Sonanes and I am the proud mother of Joshua Chavez, a wonderful 7 year old that has had many learning difficulties in school. He had to repeat kindergarten and his struggles were so great that he felt defeated and dreaded starting first grade until he walked into his classroom and saw that his teacher was the wonderful, amazing and oh so talented Mrs. Burkhart. Joshua knew Mrs. Burkhart from the Kindergarten playground being she was the other teacher he never had. He’d see her singing and playing learning games with her students and always longed to have her as a teacher, but since she only taught Kindergarten, we thought that ship had sailed. Having Mrs. Burkhart assigned as our first grade teacher truly has been the biggest blessing of our lives.

She knew of Joshua’s struggles from having observed him the previous two years with the other Kindergarten teachers and from the beginning set up a learning path for Joshua that has changed our lives. She developed a daily folder system that told us, the parents daily what it is they are learning, what we need to review, and what their behavior was like. She sends homework packets on Friday rather than Monday to allow struggling children, like Joshua, an extra two days. That has made all the difference, especially since he has a hard time memorizing new vocabulary words. And she took the time to meet with me monthly to help me, the parent, and give me the tools and training to help my son catch up and exceed in school.

As a teacher, she is the embodiment of what a teacher should be. She comes up with playful creative ways to get children interested and motivated to learn. For example, with Mathematics, she developed games like Domino Domination, to teach them to add and subtract without realizing they are learning as they play. In learning to read and write, she uses phonetics and comes with fun silly songs and rhymes to help them memorize and remember grammar rules and such. Joshua comes home signing new songs all the time about something new he learned and even suggest we do the Pledge of Allegiance every morning before breakfast.

Joshua changed from dreading school to waking up every weekend upset he doesn’t get to go to school. Mrs. Burkhart has not only helped him academically but in life itself. In his Kindergarten years, Joshua had been singled out as the odd, awkward kid that couldn’t read, couldn’t write and really didn’t play with anyone or have any friends. Her daily appraisal of his achievements and showing him that he too can succeed has changed not only how Joshua views himself but how his classmates view him. He now has friends and is not shy or second guesses himself. He used to say he was dumb and now he knows he is just as smart as any other first grade. Having Mrs. Burkhart as a teacher has opened the door for Joshua to have a successful life. For her love and dedication and great wisdom, Mrs. Burkhart deserves to be awarded Teacher of the Year.

Vroman’s is proud to announce the 2017 Teacher of the Year!
Mrs. Melinda Burkhart of Lincoln Elementary School!

Join us on Tuesday, May 30 at 6pm as we celebrate Mrs. Melinda Burkhart, Lincoln Elementary and all educators at our Teacher of the Year Celebration.
In addition to the award presentation, we will be serving light refreshments, and giving out a special discount to those in attendance.

Cindy Lopez nominated Mrs. Melinda Burkhart of Lincoln Elementary

I am writing to nominate my son’s First Grade teacher, Mrs. Melinda Burkhart of Lincoln Elementary School in La Crescenta, CA for Vroman’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Here is why we think she is a most deserving candidate.

  1. Her flexibility and Resourcefulness: Last school year she was teaching Kindergarten. We were not in her class at that time, but were well aware of her congenial personality and enthusiasm for school spirit. Just days before the school year began in August 2016, Mrs. Burkhart stepped up to fill a vacancy in First Grade. This would have been reason enough to praise her, but added to the difficulty of the situation is the classroom she was to be assigned, far from the cozy alcove of “Kinder corner”, she was to be across the large blacktop, on the opposite end of the campus, in a newly erected bungalow village, next to a major construction project that the school has been undergoing all year, that continues to be under construction throughout the school year, and that up until the very last minute, had no air conditioning/heating unit and no lights. However, she managed to set up the inside of that trailer in no time, with an impressive display of academic organization: charts, designated project areas, supplies and a host of engaging learning materials and scholastic décor. Her ability to utilize that space so efficiently, and orchestrate the daily routines of a classroom of first-graders within it, show real talent, professionalism, and a natural gift that elevates classroom management to an art form.
  2. Her School Spirit: She always wears the school colors on Spirit Day, and when there are other themed Spirit Days, she always participates enthusiastically. When I see a teacher wearing her pjs on Pajama Day, or cowboy gear on Western Day along with the students, or on any given day, dressed as her favorite character of First Grade chapter books, “Miss Junie B.”, I know I’m seeing a teacher who loves her job, loves all students, and loves her school; and that is a flag that flies for all to see, which benefits school spirit, overall. She is a credit to Lincoln Elementary and to teaching, in general, because she embodies an ideal, perhaps a nostalgic or sentimental one, of what a teacher of young children should be like. She reminds me of every good teacher of young children therefore helps put me at ease as a parent of young learners, embarking on their academic journey through what has become a slightly more frightening world.
  3. Her Teaching & Communication Style: Holiday décor and costumes aside, there is a very skilled educator at work in Mrs. Burkhart. She is competent in modern teaching vernacular, but has a way of balancing the rigors of academic goals with a very approachable and open style of communication. She is a champion of reading and had employed many strategies to encourage it, including daily reading logs, promoting online reading test that can be taken during school time or at home, laying out an assortment of appropriate book choices during their weekly library time, and posting the students “total words read” list on a bulletin board. She sets her students up for success in a number of other ways, as well. She gives out the weekly homework packets on the Friday prior to the week it is due, to give flexibility to families. She places her students into writing workshop groups three times a week, based on their reading levels, but names the groups after popular book series instead of ranking them in a more obvious or potentially shaming way. She attends training regularly and has a continually growing bag of tricks up her sleeve to accommodate different learning styles, which makes her classroom so engaging, even as a visiting parent.

My favorite thing has been communicating with her weekly on my son’s homework. She provides a space after the writing assignment for the parent to leave comments about what they have observed in their child’s writing. I have been pretty frank with her about our struggles, about where I think something he has written has come from, what I love about something he has written, what’s going on in our lives that might affect him; it’s gotten pretty personal. She always takes the time to respond in a thoughtful way. I know that she is truly paying attention to whom her students are, not just how they are performing. She is also always available via e-mail. There have been times I have sent her a message early in the morning with a question, and she usually manages to answer me before school starts. Her response is always prompt and informative.

She is quick to acknowledge exceptional behavior in her students but does not single out or demean students who do experience learning or behavior issues. I know that she looks out for their safety and well-being. I have spoken to another parent with a boy in her class who was being quietly bullied by another classmate. When the behavior was brought to the attention of the parents of the children concerned, Mrs. Burkhart stood her ground in defense of the boy and ultimately the issue was resolved. His mother spoke to me with such a profound gratitude for what this teacher has done for her son’s hope for the future, his self-esteem and engagement at school. She knows that a real bullet has been dodged, a life has been changed, a life that could have been just passed up the river, grade to grade, getting worse and slipping through the cracks in an overworked system. THAT is the power of a good teacher. I have the utmost respect and confidence in Mrs. Melinda Burkhart as a deserving recipient of this award.