I am reading GABBY at Word on the Street this Sunday. It’s my first public book reading… ever. So naturally, I’m a bit nervous. And, naturally, I wanted to try the book out with some kids first in a smaller setting to see what I might need to tweak.
Hillcrest school was kind enough to lend me a lovely JK/SK class for 20 minutes or so. (Thank you to the teachers and the principal for setting that up!)
Here’s what I learned:
- When you offer some kids a fabric letter to hold, you’d better have something for the other kids to hold, too. Preferably, the first letter of their name. (Or they may throw a letter at you. At your head. And have to apologize later.)
- At the beginning of the school year, some JK kids are very young. Not everyone will know all the letters, or the sounds they make.
- Once you’ve finished reading the book, you’d better have used up all your time… or have something else up your sleeve. The kids all turn their eyes on you and… crickets. I had to think fast! (We talked about the first letters of the children’s names.)
- It’s great to have a “crisis” in your book. The principal suggested that I ask the kids “What will Gabby do?” And it really worked! The kids came up with some great ideas. (Where the heck were they when I was writing the book!?)
- If your protagonist conjures up a fish for the cat to eat… it’s probably best not to dwell too much on the cute little fish.
- Teachers are fantastic in terms of giving you feedback and ideas for next time. Thank you, Laura, Nancy and Jon!
- If your book ends with a word like PILLOW, you’d better make two fabric Ls. (And fast, before Sunday!)
Wish me luck!