The release of The Day I Ran Away has given me some wonderful opportunities to connect with students. While I’m not sure it’s deserved, the students are usually a bit wide-eyed that they are meeting an author. In turn, I am inspired by their questions and their belief that they too CAN be an author! While I often receive a thank you after the visit, I don’t get to see the student’s stories. Until this year, when a unique opportunity was presented to me.
Denise Phillips, owner of Gathering Volumes and mother of 2nd and 4th grade students at Woodland Elementary in Perrysburg OH, was putting together a pilot Young Author program for the school and asked if I would be one of three (two authors and an illustrator) to speak to the 4th and 5th grade excel classes. In May I would return to hear the student’s stories and do an author signing at her store.
So in February one author spoke about getting ideas, I presented on picture book construction and creating a “page turner” and an illustrator talked with the classes. The students began writing…
Meanwhile, a second grade teacher was interested in having an author visit via Skype. When I “appeared” on the big screen in the student’s classroom their faces were priceless. They quickly positioned themselves on the floor so we could all “see” each other. In spite of a few frozen screen moments, it was a success with students asking great questions. The teacher summed it up:
Thank you for meeting with us Holly. The boys and girls were so excited to Skype! With all of the technology available to us, that is one thing they do not do. It was a lot of fun and your conversation with them was perfect! They heard things from a REAL AUTHOR that their boring, old teacher has said. 🙂
Then on May 6 I returned to Perrysburg where a wonderful day of celebration was planned for the young authors. Throughout the day 30 of the 40 students read their book to family and friends and then signed copies for their families and a party for all followed in the evening. It was a wonderful example of partnership between an independent bookstore and its community.
It was a treat to speak with these young authors and their families and to hear them read their stories. I was impressed by unique story lines, wonderful illustrations and soaring imaginations. While the future is uncertain in many ways, rest assured there will be wonderful stories to transport you, created by the next generation!