Another school year is skipping, ambling, screeching, and wildly cheering to a close. Everyone is restless and eager for release. Erasers are worn to nubs, and so is patience, but, as much as I look forward to summer, I love being in school…
especially on Author Day!
“School” for me might be in Vermont, or California, in Alabama, Texas, Michigan or New Mexico. I’ve been to schools in Utah, Maine, New York and as far away as Tokyo, Japan and New Delhi, India.
I have been to rural schools and urban schools, big and small schools.
I am always excited to arrive
Because now I get to share how I struggled to read, to understand math and to achieve what my 5 year old self really wanted to be–an artist!
When I explain how the words Passion, Practice, Patience, Perseverance and Possession became my 5 Ps, I’m hoping every child can think of their own passion; that activity or special skill that makes work into fun.
More than talking about books, I talk about where stories come from.
My books grow directly out of who I am: a daughter, a sister, a mother, an animal lover, an amateur naturalist, a reader, and, most important– a child at heart.
When we’ve talked about where my stories come from, we make up our own. As I draw animal characters based on their names and ideas, I explain how an illustrator works.
We discuss ideas such as forward momentum, attention to detail, setting, mood, time of day and point of view. They learn to merge text and illustration and how to use the whole page to tell their story.
I arrive early and I leave after all the students have gone. I sign books and pass out bookmarks. I marvel at how the work in school happens every day, even if I just get a one day glimpse. How do teachers muster the energy to come back every day? I need a huge coffee to recover before the ride home, but I always have a good day in your school.