You would think that after 26+ years teaching in schools, I would feel confident and ready to share my books and writing ideas with children. Instead, I felt anxious and self-conscious.
I needn’t have worried. The fifth grade classes that I visited were welcoming and interested. If nothing else, we could have used more time to talk about making books, developing characters, and the method I used to make the illustrations in Guided by Magic.
The most rewarding moment occurred when I was reading a part of Tangled in Magic. Since we were focusing on character development, I wanted the students to hear the first time the character of Scrub appeared in the series. In this selection, protagonist Agatha finds Scrub staked out to die in the forest.
I looked up from the page I was reading and saw twenty-some awestruck faces, silent, listening intently. What an affirmation of my writing! An author couldn’t ask for a better response.
While the students were working on creating their own characters using a worksheet I developed for the purpose, they took turns examining the books and art materials I’d brought. They perused the magazines containing my writing, and my handmade books, but the most fascinating objects by far were the linocuts and tools I used to make the illustrations for Book II, Guided by Magic.
In the end, I enjoyed myself immensely, and I’m looking forward to more author visits.
Thank you Amy Wendel, and the fifth grades of Walden Elementary School!