Since my picture book Journey to Constellation Station was published in November 2017, I have conducted over 30 public readings at public and private schools both large and small, preschools, STEAM nights, a children’s museum, a library and even a play lab. This also means that I am now an expert at the clap, clap, clap-clap-clap to get students to focus.
Read on to learn about my public reading presentation and the three skills children develop when attending my public readings.
Part One – The Set Up and Constructive Criticism
The best ages for my book presentation are Kindergarten through third grade. I’m thankful that my mom brain thought to save my original rough draft, which I hand wrote during a
time when my boys still napped. As you can see, my rough draft is a mess with scribbles and edits and my attempt at drawing a telescope (hence my hiring an illustrator).
The kids and teachers appreciate knowing that no, I did not write a book and then have it ready to go in one day…or even in one year! I talk about how there were many revisions and the concept of constructive criticism and feedback. The students understand that my book was made better because I listened to what other people had to say after reading it.
I also show the kids the little bite mark in the corner of my rough draft and have them guess what happened. My kids ate it? No, but good guess. My pet dragon? No…. but I do have a pet! Cue shouting about pets that the kids have and me using the clap, clap, clap-clap-clap super power. I tell them then that my cat Starbucks ate a chunk out of my rough draft about stars! Commence giggles.
Part Two – The Reading and Important Life Skills
By chance, both my illustrator and I have cats, and a cat is on the very first page of the book. I segue to the book purrfectly and remind the kids that they should save their burning questions and connections for the end of the reading.
There are inevitable interruptions, but teachers are always on hand to help, and really, I have been impressed with the kids’ abilities to listen respectfully, ask thoughtful questions, speak in front of their peers, and take their turn.
After the reading, I remind the kids that I’ll answer questions one at a time. My all-time favorite question was – When it took so long to publish my book, did I want to give up? And my honest answer was that I felt frustrated at times, but I never gave up and now look what I have – a published children’s book!
Part Three – The Craft and Exercising Creativity
The next step in my presentation is the simple but fun craft.
The students use black construction paper, white chalk (or white crayons) and star stickers and create their very own constellations. Their creativity comes to life as they design their names, unicorns, flowers, Pokémon characters, and so much more out of stars.
It’s Never The Same Public Reading Twice.
When I set out to conduct my public readings at schools, I didn’t realize how much fun it would be or how much I would enjoy interacting with the kids. They ask amazing questions and definitely keep me on my toes!
I look forward to booking more public readings, especially as my second book The Backpack will be coming out early in 2019.