I got to sit-in on an author visit and saw HMOCL Jarrett Krosoczka, talk to first and second graders at a local elementary school.
Krosoczka is a genial presence and he tells the story (I always want to hear a story) of how he became a published author/illustrator. His presentation began with his childhood writing and artwork. It occurred to me that he was lucky to have preserved his school age efforts. (The location of my own entlings' artwork is in question...I gotta get organized.) The kids connected with his childhood drawings as the work of a "contemporary."
Throughout his talk he engaged the kids by having them guess the numbers of times he faced rejection in his efforts to get into his art school of choice and to get his books published.
The wiggle level in this crowd was low. First and second graders bodies just have to m-o-v-e but their eyes were on Krosoczka every minute. The cheers that greeted his decision to read Punk Farm were loud and gratifying. Invited to play along with the band, the youngsters furiously played air guitars, drums, bass and keyboards.
I was very pleased with the quality of the questions. Only one "where do you get your ideas?" was uttered and one second grader asked him for the name of his publisher! To hear a second grader use the word "publisher" must have been a sublime moment for his librarian.
Krosoczka also gets huge BookMoot kudos for adding a little drawing to each book he signs. It takes extra time when the stacks are high but what a treasure for a child!
Memo to self: Remember that lunch time is the chance for a presenter to rest their voice, sit down, and EAT! They have an afternoon of performances to prepare for, physically. Let him enjoy his chips and salsa in peace.
Jarrett will be speaking at the "Mockingbirds and Armadillos: Local Elementary Reading Programs" session on Thursday, April 17, 2008 at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference, in Dallas.
- Jarrett Krosoczka's website and blog ... his page on School Visits is a good model for authors adding this information to their own sites