When your book first appears, you have no idea whether the audience it's intended for really gets it. Or not.
Oh, reviewers may rave and reviewers may Boo.
Bloggers may invite you. Teachers may Tweet.
But it's the kids we're trying to reach, isn't it.
Then, if you're lucky, you'll hear from your actual readers.
Which in the case of my books mostly means Grades 3-7.
(And their teachers, librarians, parents, too.)
From groups like the after-school Book Group in Jackson Township's Christa McAuliffe Middle School, just up the road in New Jersey, I learn as much from great questioners as they do from reading and interviewing the author.
When I Skype with a class, I try to scribble notes.
it's the end of the year, I didn't have time to verify the names and
the quotes, so don't hold me to this. It's hard to Skype and scribble at
the same time.)
If I decipher my notes correctly, here are a few observations.
After Allison called DESTINY awesome and Glory Be amazing (Be still my heart, on both counts), she asked specific writing questions. She wants to be a writer. She IS a writer, according to her teacher.
I told Vinnie he reminded me of the picture in my head of Theo!
Others said they liked how I incorporated baseball and piano. They wanted to know why I chose Hank Aaron. Had I ever actually heard Thelonious Monk perform, in person.
Tyler asked about the parrots! Which are real and a real nuisance where I live in Florida. Though fascinating and unusual- which he told me added to my setting.
Zander read the book in one day. (He reminded me a bit of my own visual image of a character I'm now writing. Glasses, dark hair. Adding his name to my collection, too.)
Others asked about Anabel and why she was the way she was.
They wanted to know about backstory.
And whether I'd ever moved to a brand new place, like Theo.
If not, how did I know exactly how it felt.
Now, those are careful readers and writers.
Hats off to their amazing and awesome teachers, Nancy Dell'Osso and Linda Fera.
For a post about my actual, in-person visit to this school two years ago, with pictures, CLICK HERE.