~post by Arian
It’s hard to even begin to explain how excited I would have been had an author that I loved come to my school. The most exciting visitors we ever had at my elementary school was when The San Antonio Heat, a rock band made up of police officers, came and sang songs to us about how you shouldn’t do drugs. While I admire The Heat’s dedication and creativity, it didn’t turn me into a star struck fangirl the way an author would have.
Here we are now, 20 some odd years later, and I get to take authors to schools. That’s right, in addition to the countless in-store events we have here at BookPeople, we also work with publishers to bring authors to schools! It’s an amazing experience, not only because I get to meet some amazing writers and illustrators, but because I also get to experience the joy and excitement on the kids’ faces when we show up at the schools. It’s the best.
Many of the authors’ presentations put an emphasis on following your creativity, sticking with something, and if you fail, trying and trying again. For the kids, seeing someone right in front of them who has been successful and accomplished his or her goals is such an important thing.
This past Monday I had the pleasure of taking the incredibly talented Peter Brown around to various schools in the area. Peter has written and illustrated several wonderful picture books including, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, The Curious Garden, Children Make Terrible Pets and Chowder. Peter also received a Caldecott honor for his illustrations in Creepy Carrots.
AND in addition to all this, he’s great with kiddos! His presentation to the students included sound effects during his reading of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, a drawing demonstration, lots of humor, and even a reading of the very first book he ever wrote at age 6. All of this is wrapped up in the important and wonderful message of, “You can do this too!”
It was a great day. At every school we were greeted with various hand made “welcome” signs, drawings, crafts, and sometimes even bunnies!
The other great thing that comes out of these visits is getting children interested in reading. Many kids at the schools are voracious readers, which is wonderful, but some are not. I witnessed, firsthand, kids picking up books and reading them because an author visit has gotten them excited to do so. The librarians at the schools we visit do a lot of hard work to prep and host these events, and they do a wonderful job. I’m so glad this sort of thing is becoming more prevalent in schools. I feel very lucky that I get to be apart of it. Go, books!