How do you keep 40 Kindergartners from wiggling?

Read to them.

Yes. It’s true. I LOVE author visits. I love the rising terror of seeing 40 five year olds get restless and wondering, “Oh no, what should I do?” I love turning the tables on them and listening to them for a change. I love getting them up to sing a song about pancakes or miming the making and eating pancakes with them.

Thanks to the Writer’s League of Texas program called Project Wise, Austin authors can do school visits and get paid for them. It’s truly win-win for everyone

Last week, I went to Andrews Elementary. After I was done reading Snuggle Mountain, I told them the story of how it got made, including and especially the Inspiration Story. Every book has an inspiration story, I tell them, so when an author comes to your school and asks, “Does anyone have any questions?” I raise my hand and say, “Ms Author, what was the inspiration for your book?” We practiced that a couple of time. (Author pals, I hope they ask you and I hope that you are telling some great inspiration stories.)

When I was done with my presentation, I still had 20 minutes left. Gulp. They’re wiggling and I’m nervous. What to do? One of the classes had brought in a book they had written and illustrated from a mash-up off African folktales. I asked if I could read their newest, hottest of the press book, The Great Abiyoyo. They were tickled. I was thrilled. They chanted the chorus every time I got to it. It was a blast.

If those kids like books and authors a little bit more from that visit, then I did my job.