I am a published children’s book author. I, now, have three books published, in a series about a little firefly, named Frankie. Before the publishing of the second two books I was lucky enough to be invited by my 1st grade teacher, Margaret Clor, to go around to the rural schools in the area in which I myself grew up and read my first book to her students. I was both excited and nervous. This would be my first time sharing my book with any children other than my own niece.
The day I went with Mrs. Clor I met her at the first school and with me I not only brought my first book, but I brought the manuscript for my second book and the pictures that I had drawn out for my third book. I had decided that in talking to children about writing it made sense to show them sort of a step-by-step of the process I went through. Throughout that school day we went to six rural schools in the Bad Axe and Harbor Beach areas of Huron County. Those schools were Adams, Big Burning, Church, Eccles, Kipper and Verona Mills.
Each school harbored different reactions from the students. Some asked more questions than others, some clapped, some just stared at me. My nervousness waned each school also, and by the last school I was ready to do it all over again. I learned many things on this day long adventure. I also became a hero, somewhat, to local kids who saw that just because you grow up in a small town doesn’t mean you can’t do something “bigger” with your life.
In roaming school to school and reading my children’s book to students that ranged from kindergarten age to 8th grade I learned that no matter the age of a child they want to be spoken to like you would speak to your own peers as an adult. I read a book that is meant to be read to small children, or used to teach small children to read. The children I read my Frankie the Firefly Belongs book to were much older than what would find this book interesting, but whet they did find interesting was the process behind writing, illustrating and publishing a book.
We take our children’s intelligence, and imagination, for granted at times. Yes, they need to learn, but they also want to learn. When we let them ask questions and honestly give them answers they will learn, and they will grow. Being a writer I also think it is important to teach your children to harness their imaginations. Encourage them to have invisible friends and write fantastical stories. Let them draw strange creatures and pretend to be those same strange creatures. Life isn’t fun when it is all reality!