It’s that time of year again.
Tragically-early Halloween decorations on houses, you ask? Christmas stuff on sale in October at Home Depot, you say?
Well, yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s elementary school author visit season for me, and we’re in the peak of it. Reading to and talking with kids ranks in my top ten favorite things to do of all time.
I recently released the third book in the Sycamore Detective Agency series, and I’m thrilled about that, as well. Releasing new books ranks in my top six favorite things to do of all time. I will leave things one through five up to your imagination, and no, one of them is not putting up holiday decorations of any kind.
One of the things that makes school visits so enjoyable for me is the questions the kids ask me about my job. Sure, when I talk to the older grades, I tend to get some silly, trivial questions like, “How do you develop good quality characters?”, and “Can you describe your process for outlining a story?”
Those questions are adorable, so I do my best to answer them with a kind smile on my face, but let’s be serious – that’s hardly what young aspiring authors need to know. Thankfully, the kindergarteners always get right to the meat of the issues.
“Does anyone have any questions for me about being an author?”
“How old are you?”
“Can you read us another book?”
“Could a jackal eat a person? How about a cardboard person? An alien? A ghost?"
“How tall are you?”
“Why are there so many words?”
“Do you know my dad?”
“How did you make the words?”
[pointing to the class library shelves] “Did you write all those books?”
“You have lots of fillings in your teeth.”
“My grandma has those same shoes, but in black.”
“How do you make the words different colors?”
“How do the pages stay in the book?”
“My dad’s name is Mark.”
These are the hard-hitting literary issues that need to be addressed. These are the crucial questions that every budding author should be asking.
My recent personal favorite was in a kindergarten class last week. A little girl in the front row sat pensively for a few seconds after I called on her, then the burning question she had been waiting to ask an author all her life popped into her head.
“Where do you get dressed?”
For a split second, I thought she might be roasting me, and she was going to come right back with, “In the dark?”
She didn’t though. She just gazed up at me and smiled, proud of her insightful literary question.
“In my room,” I responded.
Her eyes went wide. “Wow! Me too!” she gasped.
Well, there you go, sweetheart. You’re practically an author already.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2017 Marc Schmatjen
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