Saturday, January 4, 2014
Going Back to Elementary School
I read my new holiday picture book, SANTA'S SECRET, to 38 children and three teachers. The kids were great listeners, asked several questions about writing, and were delighted to receive free autographed books. I also gave them crayons, coloring books, and Christmas candy. One classroom informed me they had researched me in advance by reading my blog and Amazon author page! I sure hope they visit again and see themselves here.
Going back to my former elementary school proved to be a delightful, nostalgic day. I visited the cafeteria and saw the stage where I played Mary in a Nativity scene. Guess that wouldn't happen these days, sadly. I also visited several classrooms where I once sat as a young girl eager to learn as an extremely shy student.
Afterward, I watched the yellow school buses line up in front awaiting excited children and looked longingly across the street where Andy's Grocery Store used to be. I told one of the teachers that Andy's always had a glass case full of penny candy and students would fill the store the minute school was over. Andy wasn't exactly a "kid" guy. In fact, he was a big grouch. Still, we loved his penny candy and his sour mood never kept us away even if we were slightly afraid of him.
Going back to York planted an indelible smile on my face for weeks afterward. I can still remember the students' smiles, applause, questions, and especially the little girl who hugged me and whispered, "I've never had my own crayons before." Tears sprang to my eyes as I gave her a tight embrace and wished her a Merry Christmas.
I'll never forget that day. I hope all kidlit authors do the same and visit their own schools.
Even if you only donate one book to a surprised child or to the school's library, you'll improve someone's life. Try it. Sprinkle some of that fairy dust. It's fun and what a great way to start 2014.
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Great idea, Beth. Even a young adult book for older kids would be nice. It'll also get us a few more fans. Hopefully.ReplyDelete
The kid that never had crayons of her own just breaks my heart.
Her situation broke my heart, too. She was so excited to get everything.ReplyDelete
Yes, YA writers should go back to their own middle school to read to kids (even high school).
Nice visit. it meant the world to those kids. When I visited my elementary school for the first time after being gone for years I was stunned and small the spaces were--the cafeteria was much smaller than I recalled :) I can remember us kids racing from one end to the other--before the principle showed up LOL.ReplyDelete
You are right, Barb. Everything did look smaller. Our cafeteria was a gym, too. I remember doing the 50-yard dash in the playground and having to do pull-ups in the gym. :)Delete
What a great day for you and the kids.ReplyDelete
It was really fun. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
You've inspired me once again! I plan to contact my elementary school to talk to the children. What a wonderful experience to share with us.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad, Tierney! You'll have to let me know how it goes.Delete
Great post. I remember Andy's with fond memories...as well as York Elementary. I love that you gave back to the school that educated you. I'm sure the kids left feeling like they knew a superstar.ReplyDelete
Aw, thanks, Lisa. I keep forgetting that you attended York! What street did you live on and did you go to Study or Pipkin? We lived on Lynn Street and I went to Pipkin. It was my pleasure to give back. I received a very good education at York and told the students that.ReplyDelete