Last week was action-packed for me – a writer whose usual day consists of trips to Starbucks, the library, the grocery and periodic lunches or dinners out with my husband and/or friends. On Tuesday, I drove 180 miles round-trip to and from a school author visit. I have no clue about how this principal stumbled across my web site, but I am glad she did. It was a long but fulfilling day spent with lively students. They were great listeners, excellent questioners, and good readers who laughed in all the right places at my PowerPoint presentation about my books, Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Poems for Two Voices (for grades 3-5) and Little Red Bat (for grades K and 1).
The older kids were excited to step up to the microphone in pairs to read my poems aloud. The younger ones were fascinated by my slide show about the amazing characteristics of red bats, and the devotion of the man featured in my presentation who feeds and rehabilitates injured bats before releasing them. The little kids also loved petting my life-size little red bat puppet. Later, using my lesson extension activities, all the students worked with their teachers on brainstorming and writing their own (non-rhyming) butterfly and bat poems.
On Friday, I spent the morning with a group of kindergarteners celebrating Earth Day at Stratford Nature Preserve, a 200-acre working farm where I volunteer one morning a week. It was a dreary, muddy, sloppy day. But that didn’t stop us from pulling on our boots and planting a tree before moving onto other adventures: visiting the new piglets, tossing bread to the fish in the pond, playing on a makeshift teeter-totter, and petting the baby goats.
Saturday was the Ohioana Book Fair downtown, where 120 Ohio writers and illustrators who’ve had books published in the current year gather to sign and sell their wares, serve on panels, and meet our readers. I sold a fair number of books, met the Cincinnati illustrator of my book, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Ohio, and shared a table with a woman who illustrated my Little Red Bat and Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer books. Despite editors attempts to keep us from directly communicating while the books were in progress, we became friends and have kept in touch via email. We hadn’t spent time together in two years, though, so it was fun to spend eight full hours catching up.
We even found time to befriend a large mouse. Not sure whose book he was attached to, but he was certainly photogenic! It was also fun to meet in person the parents and teachers who buy my books and the children who read them. After thumbing through the five titles on my table, a grandmother bought Tuck-in-Time for her toddler grandchild who has night terrors. She felt the loving words spoken by the mother in my book, that ends with a goodnight kiss, would help make bedtime less of a struggle.
Please understand that the purpose of this post is not to talk about myself. (Since I’m the writer I know best, it is – by necessity – all about moi.) The point is that all of us need to be reminded that our work matters. Whether our books are funny or heartfelt, true or figments of our imaginations, adults are reading them to young children and older children are reading them for themselves. Now and again, it’s nice for introverted writers to meet and greet our “peeps.” It makes all those hours of sitting alone and thinking, writing, and revising (and revising some more) worthwhile.