I recently got back from two school visits in San Antonio, Texas. I spent Friday morning at Keystone School and the afternoon at St. Anthony School, just blocks away. Four presentations and a full day’s worth of activities later, I headed back to Denver tired but sad it was over. I found out, on this rewarding trip, that what makes for a perfect school visit has very little to do with me
So what made the visits so special?
1. Passionate, prepared librarians and teachers – who love kids, love reading and love to get kids excited about reading. Who create t-shirts and illustrated books with their classes, not to honor me the author, but to honor the books and find joyful connections to the words on the page. Who hold literary costume parades in which you’ll see the likes of Allie Finkle, Bunnicula or Miss Frizzle. Who make kids rabid for reading, book boosters as spirited as any Texas high school football fans. Who enthusiastically welcome everything an author offers – from teacher’s guides to bookmarks.
2. Great kids – from the tiny sweetheart who’s won 3 – you heard me 3 – regional writing competitions to the 4th grade certified whoopee cushion operator to the young graphic novelist, who was slightly embarrassed to tell me he likes to write “books like comics” and was so proud to hear that his work was part of a hip new genre.
3. Awesome support staff – like the tech teachers who made sure that my Power Point was loaded and ready to go and that the screen was perfectly placed. Or the custodial crew who mopped the cafeteria floor and stowed the cafeteria tables pronto so that the shared space was ready when my audience scampered in shortly after lunch.
4. Parents who care – who arranged a lovely meet and greet continental breakfast on the beautiful front porch – allowing me to meet the kids and their parents as they were dropped off at school. Who penned thoughtful personalizations that I added to my autographs – making their purchased books extra special. Who understand the importance of books in the lives of kids.
So today I’m sending my most heartfelt thank yous to Jeanette Vilagi at the Keystone School and Laurie Packard at St. Anthony School for putting together that perfect visit.
What do you think makes for a great author visit? Let’s chat about it.