Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let the School Visit Rumpus Start!

I'm excited that the new school year has begun, and that I'm back to visiting elementary schools. There is something so joyous about getting children excited about reading. I'm grateful I get to generate enthusiasm for literacy. It's one of my favorite things about being an author.

Here's a fun school visit story. I had finished my assembly at one particular school and as children were filing out of the gym, a child approached me. "Those kids don't believe that we're related," he said. A couple of other children stood back, watching us curiously.

"They don't believe we're related?" I asked, to be sure I heard him correctly.

"Yeah. I told them I was related to you, but they don't believe me."

This was a predicament. I had no idea who this child was, and he was asking me to verify that we were relatives in front of his friends. He appeared sincere, almost tearful. What would I do? I looked at the children behind him, and looked at him again. I studied his face more closely. I certainly didn't have any idea who he was, and if I asked him his name it would be obvious to the other children. I didn't want to dismiss him in front of his peers. Then again, I didn't want to be dishonest. For several moments I was speechless.

"How are your parents doing?" I finally asked, hoping this would give me a clue.

"Fine," he said.

No clue.

"Errrr...what's your mother doing these days?"

"I dunno. Just taking care of me and stuff."

Still no clue. Then suddenly he spelled it out. "I've been trying to tell those guys that I'm the son of my mom who's the sister of your husband's brother named Mel. My aunt said so."

Mel--a name! My brother in law. And this child must be his new wife's nephew.

"Yes," I said. "Of course we're related!" And anyway, I thought privately, aren't we all related somehow in the family of humanity? Heh. The little boy bounded away, satisfied. "See?" he said, and the children scurried away.

Another story--a child sat beside me prior to an assembly and said, "Did you know Kristyn Crow was coming to our school?"

I said, "No kidding?"

"Uh-huh. She's a real author."

"That's very cool. Have you seen her around yet?"

"Nope. She's gonna be in this assembly right now."

"Oh okay."

His teacher waved him over and he took a seat with his class. It was cute to see his face--mouth open--when the principal introduced me at the start of the assembly.

Precious. I love visiting schools!

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