Yesterday marked a new first for me and WHO WILL DANCE WITH ME?.
I've done readings at libraries and bookstores. A few times I've done art projects or tea parties. I've even done art festivals and bazaars. Once I sat on a panel for self-publishing.
Now I can add 'school visits' to the list.
Learning Brooke Early Learning Center in Cranston opened its door to me for back-to-back sessions with some of their students. It was a very different environment from what I've been used to up until now and I have to admit I was a bit nervous. All that changed as soon as I got started. (I'm going to apologize now for any misspelled names as I didn't write them down while I was there.)
The kids in Miss Amanda and Miss Lindsey's Pre-K class were very excited. They had lots of things they wanted to share about their favorite animals, both real and stuffed. Their favorites ranged widely from dogs to elephants and giraffes to fire-breathing dragons. At the end, as I got ready to head down the hall to the kindergarten class, one of the kids asked if he could give me a hug. It ended with me getting mobbed by fourteen 4-year olds all intent on giving me a group hug.
From there, I went to the kindergarten class of Miss Kelly. A slightly smaller and more subdued class, but by no means less imaginative. To start with, their favorite animals included saber-tooth cats (I found out later this was thanks to a Magic Treehouse Book) and a werewolf-vampire-zombie (he confirmed it was all one animal).
I spent more time with the kindergartners as we also made masks. For the first time, I had kids reshaping the paper plates to fit what they wanted to make rather than coloring on certain features or adding construction paper shapes.
These kids were also the most perceptive ones I've read to yet. They had theories about why certain features of Rhino, like his horn, wouldn't bother Grace (she was the smallest so the horn went over her head). They even had a list of questions written out to ask me concerning how to write and publish a book. Afterwards, Miss Kelly informed me they were going to try writing their own book for a contest. When they're done, she's going to e-mail me the result. I can't wait to see what they come up with.
My first school visit is now officially under my belt. I had a fantastic reception and wonderfully curious kids. I'm ready for my next one.