Today was my first official elementary school author visit. I must admit I was sweating this one big time. I kept worrying that I would get in front of everyone and just bomb it. I am a nervous public speaker anyway, so I was terrified by the thought of getting up in front of people I don’t even know and talking about my new picture book, “Ode to Icky”. Certain thoughts kept whirling around in my head: What if no one likes my book? What if I got up in front of them all and couldn’t think of anything else to say besides “um”? And worst of all, what if I made such a bad impression that they never invited me back?
Now I can say with a big sigh of relief that I was honestly worried for NOTHING!!! The author visit went great today! I spoke to three different classrooms, and all three seemed absolutely enthralled by me and the book. Both teachers and students told me they “loved my book”, and I even overheard one kid going around telling all his friends what an “awesome, funny book” I had written. By the time I left I had kids asking me to autograph their homework, their arms and just about any other surface they could provide! It made me feel like royalty!
By the time it was over I had learned a few things.
1. I underestimated how much kids really love to talk to authors. I thought most kids thought books were kind of boring and would think the same about the authors who write them. Boy was I wrong!
2. Kids ask really funny, amusing questions, but they also occasionally come up with an insight that I didn’t even have about my book. The things they notice are amazing. For instance, I really had never noticed that the illustrator had drawn the characters without tongues, but one kid sure did and wanted to know why they didn’t have tongues.
3. I worry way too much about the small stuff, like making sure I have the perfect pen to sign my books with or wearing just the right outfit. But my audience doesn’t really care too much about those things, they just want some attention from someone that they feel they can look up to. It makes me so proud to know that I am someone they consider worth emulating!