My favorite part about being a children’s author is reading and sharing my stories with kids. I am often invited to schools as a “visiting author”. My audience can range from preschoolers to middle schoolers.
Each group is unique. I love to watch their reactions, hear their laughter, listen to their connections and field their questions which are always genuine, often very insightful, and occasionally very funny.
I started writing down some of my favorite remarks.
First of all, kids always ask me how old I am. I always try to deflect the question, but they typically won’t take no for an answer. A few boys have said they expected me to be older, so I guess that’s a good thing.
One day I was telling a class that it took me well over a year to write my book. A boy exclaimed: “Your hand must have been really tired!” I started to explain that I wasn’t actually writing for that entire time, but then I just let it go.
One little girl wrote me a thank you note after my visit and asked if I was a teenager. That letter has been framed and hung it on my wall.
During a classroom presentation, a preschooler raised his hand. “Is your book available on Amazon?” he inquired.
“Yes,” I laughed. “How do you know about Amazon?”
“My Dad says that Mom has an addiction.”
While reading to a kindergarten class, I asked the kids who has a dog. Most of them raised their hands. One little boy blurted out “My dog died.”
“I’m so sorry,” I responed. “Was your dog sick?”
“No.” he replied. “He was hit by a comet.”
“That happens sometimes,” I told him.
Kids like to blurt out random things. “Do you like Luke Bryant?” one boy asked.
“Today is my birthday!” a little girl once proclaimed.
“That’s why I’m here”, I assured her.
I was asking one group about the difference between an author and an illustrator, when an impatient boy blurted out: “Did you draw the pictures?”
“No.” I responded. “I wish I could have, but that isn’t my talent.”
He replied: “You could have just taken an art class.” Why didn’t I think of that?
One day I was visiting a school to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Suess. A boy asked me if I am friends with Dr. Suess. “No,” I replied. “Dr. Suess has been dead over 25 years.”
He still thought we should be friends.
When I was explaining part of one book where the older sister is rather bossy, one 5 year old raised his hand. He admitted: “I’m pretty bossy.”
I told him it’s good to be self-aware.
My Dad talks about a TV show he used to watch called “Kids Say the Darndest Things”.
I love how they freely speak whatever comes to their mind. They never consider whether it might sound strange, or be embarrassing.
It seems to be around age 11 or 12 when we become more self-conscious of what we say.
I suppose it’s good to filter our words to some extent, but I do love listening to little ones as their thoughts flood out of their mouth like an open tap.
I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Andra Gillum is a free-lance writer and the author of the children’s books “Doggy Drama” and “Puppy Drama” and “Old Doggy Drama” (coming soon). Learn more at www.doggydrama.com. Like us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/doggydrama.
If you work for a school, or know of one who would be interested in an author visit, please contact Andra at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Andra on Twitter @GillumAndra