It has been relatively quiet here at Monster/Czajak camp. I guess it’s the calm before the ALA 2014 Las Vegas storm. I did just recently had a school visit at Great Oak Elementary for my picture book Monster Needs his Sleep. It was a bunch of fun. Overall, I would call it a success since I only made one child cry (not purposely I swear.)
The visit consisted of a school wide presentation about making a picture book, how the story as a whole goes through many revisions before it ever makes it on the shelf. I showed a few slides of the edited story with comments written all over it as well as other parts that were completely cut out. I also showed different versions of Monster and Boy and explained how even the illustrator goes through many revisions before the picture is perfect. Once that was done I read the story, making sure I had a digital version so that it was displayed on the big screen. Once the story was read I handed out some Monster swag and answered questions which the kids had already prepared beforehand. I like that better than the random question from the crowd. Those can be funny but the prepared questions are more thought out. After questions I wanted to show the kids how easy it is to come up with the basics of a story. I picked 4 kids from the crowd and had them stand up in front with me. The first child had to come up with what Monster Needs, the second had to come up with why he needs it, the third had to decide why Monster couldn’t get it, i.e. the conflict, and the fourth had to figure out how Monster finally gets what he needs or the resolution to the story. I did this with each grade and the kids seemed to like it. That is all except for one, hence the crying child that I mentioned at the beginning.
After the whole school presentation, which took about 45 minutes, I met with one of the third grade classes and did a writing exercise that was similar to the one I did with the four kids during the presentation. The difference though was that each child in the class had to come up with each part of the story and expand on them to create an entire story. I tried to stress that what they were writing was a first draft and to not worry about being perfect. Forget about spelling, just get the ideas down. Once they started writing and stopped worrying about being perfect the ideas started to flow. I have to say there were some very creative kids in that class, from Monster needing a makeover to Monster needing to go to Mexico to visit his grandma.
I finished off the visit by doing a make your own nightlight craft with one of the kindergarten classes. It is such a simple craft that uses a glow stick to make a paper snow cone cup, decorated as a bird, glow.
The kids loved it since it related to the nightlight from the book and let’s be honest what kid doesn’t like glow sticks? Also check out these great thank you cards the kids made me. Very cool! Apparently one teacher knows my weakness. So I know do school visits at 1 ld./hr.!