Remember that secret stuff I worked on last week? It was all preparation for my first-ever school visits!
Monday I spoke to approximately eighty second graders at West Carroll Elementary! I talked about imperfect first drafts, how to “show, not tell,” and getting the most out of their journals. The kids were so excited about writing, and I was amazed by how many questions they had! I’m sure I paled in comparison to Rocky the Writing Raccoon (and to Stephenie Meyer, whom one young lady was hoping I’d be), but they were incredibly sweet to me anyway. Many thanks to Mrs. Findlay (especially for your organization), Mrs. Hartman, Miss Herman, and Mrs. Geerts for letting me speak. And thank you to all the second graders for listening!
I’m disappointed to say that I forgot to bring my camera to WC, so I don’t have any pictures to share. But if any WC second-graders visit this site, please leave a comment so I can say hi!
Tuesday I spoke to fifteen fifth graders at River Ridge! I talked about the road to publication, from idea to book. It was a lengthy discussion, touching on everything from genres to drafts to publishers. I worried the students might get bored with it, but they asked me some fabulous questions! I also got to visit with a few of the students before and after my presentation, and I loved hearing about the stories they were reading or writing. What a talented bunch of kids, and I hope they’ll keep in contact via website! Here’s a picture of me with the class (thank you, Mrs. Purchis, for the photos!):
Behind my head, clipped to the board, you can see part of a banner made for me by Hannah and Jamie (I’m SO sorry if I misspelled your name; if I did, leave me a comment and I’ll fix it!). It said “Welcome E. M. Rowan!” And the book drawn at the bottom had the title “The River’s Edge.” How cool is that?! Thanks, ladies! Thank you, Mrs. Bussan, for your invitation and enthusiasm, and thanks to the fifth graders for being a great audience!
I’d like to briefly discuss school visits in general. If you are a writer, consider sharing what you know with kids or teens (if you don’t already). This has been a crazy year for the publishing industry; but no matter what the upheavals, we’ll always need a new generation of writers.
When preparing for my school visits, I referred to the SCBWI publication guide and the SCBWI’s bimonthly Bulletin, which has a regular feature called “The Truth about School Visits” by Alexis O’Neill. SCBWI probably has more resources on the subject if I’d had time to look for them. It’s a great organization, and I recommend joining if you write for children or teens.
I’m obviously a rookie at this school-visit business, so I’m open to ideas and suggestions! Adults: any of you have experience to share?? Students: what would you like to see or hear from a guest speaker??
Have a great week! Check back on Friday to share your weekly news!