A little while ago, the children's writing community joined forces to raise money for hurricane victims via a KidLit Cares auction. Over 200 authors, agents, editors, and illustrators donated great prizes. Kate Messner rallied the troops and off we went.
My Skype visit was won by Jennifer Orr, a third grade teacher in Virginia. I sent her my books and we planned our Skype.
We had so much fun.
Here they are!
(Also, her kids love to share via Twitter, so I got a few updates along the way! Such as Why is Uncle Raymond so Mean???)
Ms. Orr also kept me posted:
"We're so enjoying Theo and Miss Sister in The Way to Stay in Destiny. We just read a part that has them rethinking their feelings about Uncle Raymond. It's beautiful to watch."
Teachers and librarians, these are the kinds of messages that warm an author's heart!
Sometimes you toil away for a very long time with a story and wonder if anybody will ever notice a character's arc, his transformation. If a young reader will understand plot threads or "voice" or symbolism or any of those crafty things we sneak into our books.
Yes, sometimes we want them to read the story just for the fun of it. For the love of a book and its characters. And not to think too hard. But adults sharing a book can also help readers see details they may miss. They encourage them to look for connections to their own lives. They find ways to enhance the reading experience.
While Ms. Orr read THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, her listeners had little notebooks "to draw or write or doodle or whatever helped them as they listened."
(I worried about a lot making Uncle Raymond too mean. But I think I redeemed him by the end of the book.)
Don't tell the other doodlers, but this might be my favorite.
I didn't want to make a big thing out of Theo's crush on Anabel, so I tried to be subtle.
But one of the ExplorerOrrs figured that out!
Here I am, smiling to beat the band, at the fabulous questions on Skype day.
Thanks to all who contributed to the KidLit Auction. And thanks, teachers, for all the hard work and sharing you do of our books. We so appreciate you.
Also, I love following their tweets. This is a book loving class!
Today we're reading a Martin Luther King, Jr. book by