Thursday, March 6, 2014

March is Reading Month -- and Author Visit Month

Aside from whenever the tight book deadlines fall, March is my busy time. In Michigan, March is Reading Month.
That means in March lots of schools like to bring authors in to talk with their students about writing and reading.
Ohio's big month for school visits is in May, so we'll be busy then, too.

Charlie and I do a great workshop presentation.
It's interactive and educational and -- bonus! -- kids always, always, always exit our sessions excited about writing. That's because we create an illustrated story right there with them, with their help.
We also leave all the papers with the school so the students can revise the story or create something new, and they have all the tools and knowledge they'll need.

Last year we were at a new school pretty much every day in March (sometimes more than one school in a day).
This year we encouraged teachers to schedule our visits in the other months, Sept through February and also in April and May, so we'd be less busy in March. It's rewarding to connect with kids all through the year -- I'm sure it helps me understand my kid characters better.
And we love the work!
Kids respond well -- we change our presentation to fit any level, age 3 up through high school, always with fabulous results. Teachers give fantastic testimonials.
Charlie and I have the best job I could imagine.

Here's a sketchbook page from our visit to Frankenmuth, Michigan, at the end of February/beginning of March. Our hotel lost water and internet service for part of a day so Charlie and I bundled up and explored the town.

One completely unexpected, amazingly great thing happened in Frankenmuth Thursday night: I thought of a brilliant new picture book idea. It's one of those stories that comes complete with a title already thought up, and the characters almost fully developed. It'll take a while to be ready to share with the world, but I'm excited, and I'll always remember this book had its roots in my school visits.

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