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.
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.