When educators make time for an author visit, they send a strong signal that books are important. Last spring, Mrs. Stacia Kohlstedt asked if I would visit St. Mary's School in Richland Center, Wisconsin. I happily agreed. Meeting young readers always inspires me and reminds me why I do what I do.
STEP TWO: Read her book prior to the visit.
All of the grades read my books. The students had excellent questions and comments about what they had read. The seventh graders did an entire study on Nature Girl. Their illustrated reports lined the hallway.
I was really impressed by their analysis of character, plot, and setting.
I loved seeing Trail Blaze Betty get the credit she deserves for guiding Megan's journey. (Look--there's her famous hat!)
STEP THREE: Let her discuss topics she's passionate about.
This workshop is entitled "WALK IN SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOES: EMPATHY IN WRITING."
Fiction is a powerful tool that enables us to view the world from someone else's perspective. In my books, I've been a boy with too much imagination, an African gray parrot, and a snotty girl who is transformed by hiking. In other people's books, I've been a runaway slave, a soldier, and a Syrian refugee. Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, your life will be enriched by being inside someone who is different from you.
STEP FOUR: Invite her to lunch with a few of your students.
Thank you, Mrs. Stacia Kohlstedt, St. Mary's teachers and students for a wonderful day, for sharing your ideas--and for helping me write my next book.