I’ve got a thrilling weekend coming up next month. On Saturday, October 15th, I get to do two signings at the GLiBA tradeshow in Dearborn, Michigan. But the real highlight falls on the day before. On October 14th, I’ll be making my very first school visit!
I can’t express how exciting this is for me — without devolving into undignified yipping and dancing around the room, anyhow. I’ve done lots of reading gigs over the last year, but this sort of thing is a whole new bag for me. I’ll be visiting an elementary school in Michigan, and what’s more, it will be the home school of one Colby Sharp, the teacher extraordinaire who runs the sharpread blog. If you want to learn how to get your own kids psyched about reading, take some cues from Mr. Sharp. He just gets it, plain and simple.
Anyhow, Colby has been a great early supporter of Latasha, so I’m so happy that I get to do my first visit at his school. Excited beyond belief. But mixed in with that excitement, to be honest, is a bit of trepidation. You see, at first, I’d originally thought I would just visit Mr. Sharp’s class, the kind of smaller affair that is right in my comfort zone. But over the last week or so, the scope of the event has grown — from one 4th grade class, to that whole grade, to now, where I’ll be giving a full-blown presentation to the entire third and fourth grade.
Now, I love engaging with kids. And I’m also one of those really lucky people who actually enjoys public speaking. I’m trying to figure out how to explain what the big deal is.
Our solar system comes to mind. You know how you’ve got the planets, and they orbit the sun? The sun has to be a certain size to pull this off; put a smaller star at the center, the whole system falls into chaos. I guess I’m wondering if I’ve got the gravitational pull to draw in all these kids. My stories do, no doubt, but this isn’t just a reading. I’ve got to bring more to the table.
So, all this explanation is really just a prelude to a call for help. Mr. Sharp has already given me some great pointers about what I can do to make this visit compelling and enriching for the kids, but I’d love to hear more advice — from teachers, but especially from authors who have done this sort of thing. What, in your experience, makes a great author visit? Send me a note if you’ve the time, public or private. Like I said, I already have some good jumping off points, but for me, the more data, the better.