icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


Autumn Awe

As one chapter ends, a new one begins. This autumn starts with renewal of health, a return of a missionary son, and the marriage of a daughter.
It was sweet to have family here, and to share in the joys of two families uniting. No longer Ries, my daughter's new name is Loveland. I just love her new name, and the family she's come to adore. My new son is VERY tall, VERY blonde, and he is incredibly joyful to be around. It's sweet to know so much family happiness.

Crimson, golds, and myriads of color brings delight to Oregon. Local farms
are filled with grinning school children taking that hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick that perfect jack-o-lantern to be. It's fun to see them proudly toting bright oange under their arms.

Some farms are apple orchards where kids can ride out under the trees, and come back to jump inside a giant apple, and drink fresh tangy cider made up of apple variety goodness. Our family loves the giant corn maze, a favorite Ries tradition accompanied by cider and doughnuts.

It's my favorite time of the year, sweater season, and as I take in all the visuals and play... I look forward to whatever future adventures lie ahead. One of my goals is to work out 2009-2010 school visits, and this is what I'd like to address in this blog.

Despite the economic hardships, let's keep authors in schools, libraries, community events, etc. Authors are aware of budget cuts and teachers losing jobs. I have heard stories from librarians about how their scariest part of the job is to set up school visits because of demanding, hard to please, authors. It's made some librarians nervous. I've heard these stories from more than one school as I visit, and about how little some authors give for their asking fee.

Author's are just people. Some might let their name being printed on a book go to their head, but most are very, very kind. Many of us see these visits as a way to give back to all those that inspired and mentored us as kids. Giving and playing with children, and inspiring them to use their creativity and talents, whatever they might be, is a sweet opportunity.

Don't be afraid to look past fees and negotiate what works for you. Do your homework to know what kind of a person you are calling in to your school. Ask for referrals from other schools. If there's someone you're interested in inviting to present, call previous schools who have had this person and those who have experienced the visit.

This visiting author will leave an impression on your students. We want a positive, delightful experience, personal and rewarding for these kids. The right writers for your children will work with you. We're all in this world together, and we all want what's best for our children. Curriculum based visits are even possible. For one group of 6th graders a teacher requested they use the Roman Empire for their setting, and write based on what they've learned about the people and culture of this time and place as we worked and played together.

And do be prepared for the visit. If it's a school visit, do introduce children to some of the books beforehand. This is so important. Let them know who this person is. This makes a visit more special and personally meaningful to the individual child.

If it's a community event, do set up a place for an author where there are no distractions taking away from what they wish to give in sharing. Children will almost aways migrate toward crafts, and play done in the same space. Many authors have color sheets and activities associated with their books, ask the author about these, and plan to link activities with character play. Authors come to share. We want to share. For the Good Dog Aggie Release party, I made up a Dog bone game---which to my surprise worked beautifully! I've seen other author presentations, which involved a new dance.

If you have any questions at all about author visits, or a certain writer, just ask. There is always support from local librarians, publishers, and the authors themselves.

Happy Autumn, Everyone!

Be the first to comment