I’ve said it a hundred times, “Authors don’t do school visits; schools do author visits.”
Like everything else in life, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
It makes such a difference when a school is invested in an author visit. When they’ve been reading the books, engaged in art projects, talking and thinking about the upcoming visit. This sense of anticipation prepares the ground for learning.
Usually I can tell what kind of reception I’ll get from the tone of the many emails (or not!) that pass back and forth between the contact person and me. But the telltale moment is when you walk into the school and there it is — that big welcoming sign, the artwork proudly displayed on the walls, the sense that these kids are excited to meet a real, live author. The message is: TODAY IS A BIG DAY FOR OUR SCHOOL!
Because it’s not always that way.
I’ve had some schools where the visit is regarded as something extra, a side note, a little bonus, not central to the school’s mission. And yet, it’s never really about the guest author, it’s about literacy — a love of books, a love for learning. Nevertheless, the kids still have a great time, and many will still be inspired to read and (even) write, but it’s not the same amplification. The impact isn’t as meaningful or, I suspect, lasting.
A long preamble to say that when I walked into Plattekill Elementary the other day, I saw a lot of artwork inspired by my books. I took a few snaps. Thank you to all concerned, especially the talented art teacher who helped make it happen. I’m sorry I didn’t get your name.
And to the student artists? Thank you all, so much, even if I didn’t share your work in today’s post. Great job. I’m flattered and impressed!