Tuesday, May 26, 2015

School Visit!

This past week, I got to make a special visit to my sister's third grade classroom.  She's a teacher in a nearby school district and always encourages her kids to be reading maniacs. 

Although I'm not published yet, I love taking this yearly opportunity to speak to a room full of kids.  I've always been the sort of person who runs away from the spotlight, so public speaking has never been my forte.  Fortunately, I'm starting to get used to twenty pairs of eyes staring straight at me as I ramble on aimlessly and try not to look like a dweeb while my sister snaps photos of me pointing at books.  (Oh darn, those pictures are all on her camera.  Guess I can't post them here!)

Third graders really are such a fun age group!  I brought a variety of books from the Ohioana Library to talk about Ohio authors and illustrators (all of whom they were familiar with--awesome work, teachers!) and we read First Dog.  The kids loved that it was written and illustrated by all Ohioans--J. Patrick Lewis, Beth Zappitello, and Tim Bowers--and that it featured a cute, fluffy dog.  (Maybe more kids would like math if it involved cuddly canines?)

After the story, I shared some of my own work and talked a little bit about how I'm trying to become published.  I showed them some art, talked about the revision process, and tried not to make more doofy faces as my sister continued snapping photos.  I also made a noble effort not to burst out laughing at the hilarious things the kids said.  (Me: Does anyone have any unusual pets at home?  Kid: We have lots of gnats in our house!)  

Then we did a bookmark craft together from the Ohioana Book Festival, and I explained how the drawings were done by aspiring SCBWI illustrators just like me.  They had an absolute blast coloring the bookmarks and drawing some of their own!  To help keep the kids quiet as they waited in line for me to tie ribbons on top, I had them each think of their favorite book.  The winning series by far were Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the boys and Puppy Place for the girls.  (Score another win for the cute, fluffy dogs!)  The kids were so creative and enthusiastic, and many even asked if they could make extra bookmarks to give to family members.  (D'awwwww!) 

The highlight of the day was when two little girls told me they want to be writers and illustrators when they grow up.  I very much hope their parents and teachers encourage them to follow that dream.  :)

The day ended with smiling faces, "Do you have to go already?" whining, and a few sticky-fingered hugs.  I can't wait to visit again next year!     

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