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.