Last week, I delivered a day of presentations to some 600-700 kids at Marlborough Elementary, one of two schools that won CWILL BC’s contest for a free author visit at our Fall Book Harvest launch on October 5.
I do quite a lot of school visits and teach creative writing to kids full time, so my nerves are usually pretty cool before a presentation—but I will admit to feeling a bit of pressure this day. One reason is that I felt like I was representing all of CWILL BC. The other is that Marlborough is the largest elementary school in BC. I had visions of “blowing it” somehow. I could hear the words, “You’ll never work in this town again!”
Well, there must have been something special in that misty Burnaby air that morning, because it was one of those school visits that just, well, for the lack of a better word, “rocked.” I think the kids genuinely loved the day—I know I did. I found a way to connect with the students, even though there were 150-200 in each group. In each session, I showed a PowerPoint presentation that gave insight into my books, The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar, including a sneak peak at my third book in the series. I showed them how I developed my plots, settings, and characters—and even showed them my all-time messiest manuscript page (replete with spilled wax, a coffee stain, paw prints from my cat, and the obligatory chicken scratch of red ink). Afterward, I worked with each group to design and draw our own characters. Afterward, students returned to their classes to begin working on stories based on the characters they had crafted.
I am always so impressed with the drawings that these kids can produce, but that day the quality and output seemed extraordinarily high. All in all, it was a fantastic day, and I was so thrilled to visit Marlborough.
Even though Marlborough won just one free presentation, they decided to use the prize as a springboard for booking me for the whole day, so as to accommodate as many students as possible.
I would like to commend Marlborough for their efforts in winning the presentation. Patricia Finlay, librarian for Marlborough, put a lot of effort into spreading the word about CWILL BC’s contest, distributing flyers and even announcing it at a school-wide assembly. Eighteen students, with their parents, attended the October 5th event held at the Vancouver Public Library. I know Marlborough was thrilled to win the presentation, and to have their students meet so many authors and illustrators at Fall Book Harvest.
And it can all happen again! Before you know it, our next official CWILL BC launch—Spring Book Hatching—will be here. Stay tuned to the CWILL BC website and blog to find out more!