I got to speak in front of 100 first graders today at Forest Trail Elementary. It was such a nice school and the students were great. I spoke for about 45 minutes and showed them how I wrote and illustrated the book. I'm still getting my "talking points" down for talking to kids. I know the teachers want me to cover certain themes so they can go back to the classroom and discuss them. For instance when I was answering questions one of the teachers asked how many publishers I showed the book to before it was published, hoping we could cover the "try try again" theme, but it caught me off guard a little and I answered honestly, "Oh. Just the one publisher. I guess I hit it out of the park on the first try." That makes me laugh now, Yeah, kids, try once and if it doesn't pan out go back to your video games (no, I didn't say that!).
I did talk about ideas and how books start with an idea which is why kids are in school to load up their brains with information in hopes they will have the big ideas for tomorrow. And I talked about trial and error, how I made decisions about the story and illustrations. Overall I think I did great and I asked one little girl as they were lining up to leave how I did, and she said, "It was great!"
When I was reading the book, too, I was surprised how many kids already knew it! One girl raised her hand and said she had my book, and another boy near the front did to (he was whispering what was on the next page to his friends... and one of them elbowed him to make him stop which I think means he liked the story). They really liked the picture of my studio, so I'll be sure to keep that in the presentation. I pointed out the aquarium with the corn snake and my "cool" status shot up dramatically I could tell.
I only wish I'd had pictures, but the hubby took the cameras to Ohio. That's ok, I'll get some next time.