Pre-kindergarteners at St. John Bosco Catholic School (SJBCS) in Ahwatukee received a surprise visit Wednesday morning from author Janet Kiefer, who read her children’s book, “Can I Play With You?”

Kiefer, a Chandler resident who taught at Hamilton High School, read to the 23 pre-kindergarten students inside the school’s library for nearly a half hour, where she interacted with the students while she read.

“It’s just a joy being able to continue to teach through my writing, even though I’m not in a classroom anymore,” she said.

Her book, “Can I Play With You?,” teaches children to be more loving toward one another and to form friendships.

The pre-kindergarten classes at SJBCS were able to have Kiefer read to the students by placing bids on her read-along activity during the school’s annual Bosco auction.

Tracey and Adam Parks, parents at SJBCS, placed bids on having Kiefer read to the pre-kindergarten classes and felt it would be beneficial to the students.

Tracey said the bid for Kiefer’s read-along activity was $65.

“I thought it would be important for the kids to hear from her perspective on how the book should be read and what’s important in the book,” Tracey said.

Kiefer also donated her three children’s book to SJBCS during the Bosco auction, which have a special message of kindness and service.

“It’s good for them to have the real-life experience of having an author to them,” said Theresa Harvey, librarian at SJBCS. “At their age, it’s always good to have moral lessons in a story, and have something they can relate to.”

Terri Lisi, volunteer at SJBCS, said reading was at the core of everything SJBCS does with its students.

“We need kids excited at any level about reading, and anything we can do to do that will go a long way in their education,” she said.

Colleen Johnson, pre-kindergarten teacher, said her students were excited about the idea of having a real-life author read to them about being a kinder person.

“They’re just learning how to be in a community, how to use their words and to be kind, so we make that a No. 1 priority here.”

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