Tag Archive for Bailey Elementary

School Visits

Come Spring, school visit season begins in earnest, and my schedule becomes sprinkled with weekly visits to both far- and near-flung locales. I’m grateful for the work and the opportunity to promote my books, meet with students and teachers, and hopefully inspire somebody along the way. At the same time, it’s a fish-out-of-water experience. Writers work in solitude, clicking on keyboards in lonely rooms, trying to resist the sirens’ call from the Girl Scout cookies in the cupboard: “Take a break, have a seat, chillax, eat a cookie. Have two or three!

On the day of a school visit, we are plunked amidst dozens, even hundreds, of squirming school children and treated as celebrities. Suddenly we are entertainers, expected to be delightful, clever, wise, and talented. We even have to comb our hair. The irony is that we are placed in this role because we are good at being alone, unkempt, semi-successfully fending off cookies.

Still, I really do enjoy it, and sometimes even love it. But wow, that’s hard work.

Anyway, as some of you know, I was recently in Dublin, Ohio, visiting Bailey Elementary as the invited guest of Bill and Karen, the considerable brainpower behind the  Literature Lives blog. They’ve been writing about the experience, and I think it’s a worthwhile read for any educator involved in author visits. In one particular post, Bill offers some excellent tips for a successful author visit. And believe me, every author I know wishes they could be treated as well on a visit. I’d like to take all the credit for its success, but honestly, I think the specific author contributes something less than 25% toward the overall outcome. The rest is up to the schools, the PTO, the teachers involved. The more you put into it, the more you get out; the more students bring to the session/s, the more they take away. It’s that simple.

A Few Links, etc.

Been away on a school visit to Bailey Elementary in Dublin, Ohio, with Karen and Bill of Literate Lives. Since they’ve already threatened to blog about it, I’ll refrain from much comment. Especially as I’m a little fuzzy in the Brain Department this glorious morn. The students were great, happy and well-prepared, and the overall team effort — from principal to PTO parent — made it all feel like a cohesive, coordinated success. Beyond the whole “content delivering” aspect, we all enjoyed some laughs along the way and made new friendships. A happy time; I’m grateful for the experience.

And I ate like a king (thanks, Amy and Keyburn).

* My brother from another mother, Matthew Cordell, blogs about the beginnings of our new picture book, Mighty Casey. Very interesting to get an illustrator’s perspective on the process, including early (rejected) sketches.

* The Reading Zone recently reviewed Along Came Spider, and even (insanely!) used the M-word. That’s overstating it for sure, but I appreciate the enthusiasm. The money quote:

This is a great book and one I can’t wait to share with my students.  I think it will resonate with boys and girls alike.  James Preller has crafted yet another masterpiece for middle grade readers!

* Bill Prosser did his first-ever interview over at Literate Lives, sitting down with author N.D. Wilson. A very nice job, especially for someone who went twenty minutes before realizing he forgot to turn on the tape recorder! Check it out and encourage Bill to do more.

* Lastly, I recently directed a teacher friend to visit The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, which is on my fabulous blogroll on the right sidebar, under Random Pleasures. For anyone who enjoys language, and grammar, and unintended humor, this is a fun, quick site and worth seeing.  I can’t imagine a language arts teacher/person not enjoying it. I love when a blog gets very specific like this, mining that one vein.

* Lastly, Fan Mail Wednesday has been moved to Friday!