I don’t remember much about elementary school, but I’ll never forget the time my favorite author, Ann M. Martin, of Baby-Sitter’s Club fame, came to visit. As she stood before my second-grade class talking about her books and writing process, I hung on every word. I still remember the answer she gave when a classmate asked where her story ideas come from: eavesdropping.
Martin’s visit has stuck with me for over 30 years. Now that I’m writing High Flyers, an illustrated chapter book series about a team of racing pigeons, and doing author visits of my own, I draw inspiration from that memory to create a rich learning experience that children will remember long after I leave. My approach was recently validated by a five-year-old boy who came up to me at a community event to tell me that I had given a presentation at his elementary school and that he enjoyed learning how to candle a racing pigeon egg to see if it’s fertilized. For a moment, I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open, stunned that my author visit had made such an impression on this young reader.
It’s not about you; it’s about them.