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  • Writer's pictureJudy

Feb. 18, 2024: School Author Visits

This week I had two more School Author Visits. That is six so far this year, with three more scheduled later in the spring. Even with a full-time teaching job, I make time to do six to ten School Author Visits every year.  They are truly the frosting on the cake of being a children’s book author.


         Any time an author can meet with readers is powerful, but School Author Visits offer the time and intimacy that many Book Festivals or Book Signings do not.  I gather in a classroom or the media center or the school auditorium, with the students, and we spend an hour or so chatting and laughing and getting to know each other.


         I do have a basic presentation that I start with, where I talk about the writing process and the historical events that are the foundation for my historical fiction novels.  I talk about the importance of revision and getting feedback as we write.  I chat about the power of research and primary documents when digging into events and time periods. I also delve into the power of perseverance, when I share with them the inevitable struggles and failures that go long with life as a writer.


         Then they ask questions. I always get the usual ones about characters’ names or personality traits. But I also get questions that are wonderfully insightful and deeper than most people think children capable of. What was the motivation of a specific action a character took? Why did I decide to include a specific scene or conflict?


         I think the power of School Author Visits comes through in three ways:



-       Kids can see that authors are “real people”, just like them.

-       Children can see themselves in the authors that come to visit their school. They love when they learn that you also love the same things they do.

-       They gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between a writer and a reader.



-       Kids can begin to see the process behind the books that they enjoy.

-       The writing process does not seem as overwhelming, and they can see how it plays out in the writing that they do.



-       Kids can feel the passion that writers have for the work we do, and it feeds their passion.

-       The passion and excitement we share with them can inspire them to pick up and pen (or sit down at a keyboard) and start to write that story that has been rattling around in their head.  


While I hope that the students leave our time together inspired, I know that I leave inspired.  My time with them is vivid reminder of the power of stories!

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