On Wednesday, May 25, 2016 I got to accomplish a goal that had been a long time in coming. I got to read my books to a lot of classrooms at one school! I had previously read to my great nephew Sully's classroom a couple of times, and I LOVED it! However, I wanted to do more than read to ONE classroom. I wanted to read my books to the WHOLE school! I pretty much got to do that on Career Day. The day consisted of us community leaders including myself, a lawyer, a nurse, a photographer, policemen, firemen, and others rotating from classroom to classroom in 7 sessions to talk about our lives in our chosen careers. Each session was 30 minutes, and although at first I worried I wouldn't fill up 30 minutes, I soon learned that 30 minutes at school goes by really fast. I only read both books actually to the Kindergarten class because there was time to do so. All the other classes I just read The Kitty with the Itty-Bitty Tail because I think it has a great message for kids at those age/grade levels. Before I began reading the kitty book, I asked the students to listen very carefully and see if they could relate to the emotions Ethel was feeling as I read along in the book. They were point on. They answered sad, mad, scared, shy, nervous, etc. and quite a few of them shared their experiences with being nervous on the first day of school or of being teased or made fun of or bullied. After each reading, I was met with applause and "thank you" from the students. It was such a wonderful feeling to read MY books to all these groups of appreciative, attentive kiddos. It was a dream come true, and one I wish I could pursue more often. However, reality doesn't permit me to do this full-time. I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to reach this goal even if it was only for one day. Baby steps...It takes time...
I loved the questions I was asked, and I was pleasantly surprised at the cognitive level to which a lot of these students asked questions of me. The better the connection to self or others, the higher the thinking skills. One second grader even made a text-to-text connection to not only one other book, but TWO other books! It was exciting to see that in person. I almost wanted to high-five him! Here are the FAQ:
1. Are you famous?
2. How long does it take to write a book?
3. Did you hand-write your books or write them on the computer?
4. How many books do you have?
5. Did you do the illustrations?
6. Are you writing other books? What are they about?
7. Where can we get your books?
8. How much are your books?
9. Have you met any famous authors?
I'm sure there were other questions, but these were the most frequently asked that I can remember now.
I left each group with a "thank you" and left a business card for all the students and teachers with each teacher. Did I go to Career Day to sell books? Yes, I'll admit if I can make a book sale or two, that'd be great, but the most important thing for me was to INSPIRE these kids to read but also to INSPIRE them to follow their dreams and set goals on what they want to do with their lives and work toward them.
I had such an awesome time. I hope I get to do it again next year!