Whenever I go for school visit to talk to kids about my books, I go in with some trepidation. But in the end, I always find the visits amazingly energizing.
This past weekend I went to Radcon and as part of the SF/fantasy con, I visited Chiawana High School in Pasco, a school with 2500+ students, complete with its own theatre and a small sports stadium. It also has a library to DIE for, which was all decked out for my visit with several of my books on display, and an AMAZING display poster. (Which I got to keep.)
I had three sessions in a seminar room attached to the library – and each session had between 25 and 30 kids in it, of a wide age range. I’m not sure if there were any seniors, but the freshman and sophomore years were well represented.
In the first session I just sat there and yakked at the kids about life and writing and everything and then opened up the floor to questions. I gave a copy of one of my books to the student who asked the most interesting question. This turned out to be a nice young man whose name, when shared amongst the librarians, occasioned lots of vigorous head nodding. They knew him well.
In the second session, I read the opening of “Random”, my new young adult book coming out this May. Afterwards the teacher told me,
“You HAD them. They stopped squirming and chattering and they were sitting forward in their seats and listening hard. You HAD them!”
Which is good news, of course, because this is SO my target audience. If they enjoyed the book, it’s got the potential to catch their peers elsewhere. Thanks for the feedback, kids!
The third session was just talk and questions again – except that twice I lost track of the interesting questions so the person who got the book in the end in each session was the person who had a birthday closest to my own. One kid changed his birthday in a hurry when he lost out on a book, but it was too late and obviously a ploy. I suspect I could have handed books out like candy here and they would have been devoured by this crowd. Once again, thanks, kids!
Having these opportunities to reach out to and interact with young readers has been an amazing perk to attending Radcon for years, now. I enjoyed – and will continue to enjoy – every opportunity which comes my way to do this.
I owe a great deal of thanks to the librarians who organized these events and herded the serried ranks of the audience into their seats in the seminar room.
I had a good time, and I hope they all did, too. I like to think that i helped to wake up in these youngsters the passion for reading and possibly writing that I received at the hands of people like me when I was their age.
Quote of the Day
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~ Carl Sagan
Comments welcome. What do you think?