Thursday, October 15, 2009

School Visit Energy

I'm halfway through the autumn (or winter, since it's been snowing around here) school visit season. Halfway through school lunches (which are considerably better than what I remember from my own school days - or perhaps I've just been lucky). Halfway through the muscle-building exercise of lugging presentation materials into schools - or, if I'm very lucky, halfway through the character-building exercise of persuading kindly souls at the schools to lug the presentation materials in for me.

But, mostly, I'm halfway through the incredibly energizing experience of facing my readers and sharing my ideas about writing with them. To stand in front of groups as large as a couple hundred or as small as a dozen, and see eyes light up, and pick a question from a sea of wildly waving hands, is to feel my heart lift. To share the tension as the group, no matter what its size, falls completely silent and motionless when I share with them certain books (A Bear for Miguel for the youngest students, The Ghost Cadet with upper elementary and middle school, and The Perfect Shot with teenagers), is to know for certain that the book is touching every one of them in the gym or library or auditorium or cafeteria.

After the stillness, after the questions, after the younger students crowd around me at the end, after the teenagers hang around, too cool to talk while their peers are leaving the presentation, but eager to tell me about their own writing and their dreams, I pack up and get back on the road for the next school, delighted that I drove so far to have that hour with those students, and eager to get back to my own writing so I can complete the next book for them.


  1. the book ghost cadet is a really good book my class is reading your book and i wanted to get some imformation about the book because me and a coulple of my friends are going to make a website about what our class learned about the book i just wanted to stat it is a really good book

  2. Thanks so much! I'm really glad you and your friends think Ghost Cadet is a really good book. It's a very special book to me because it was the very first book I ever got published (although I had been trying to get a novel published for a long time), and because I wrote it for my husband, who believed in my dream of becoming a published writer even though my parents and friends didn't think I could ever make a living that way. It's also very special because of what I discovered about the watch in the course of my research.

    I'm delighted that you and a couple of your friends are going to make a website about what your class learned about the book - please send me the URL when you get the site up. I'd love to see it!