This week I have the privilege of visiting two local schools for Read Across America week. I spent five hours yesterday at Riverside Elementary, shuttled back and forth between about ten different classrooms talking to the kids about being an author, reading to them, and answering their questions. I was one tired girl by the end of the day, but it was definitely worth it. The kids were great, and most of them had plenty of questions, which is what I like the best. With Q and A, you always know you're talking about things that the kids are really interested in, rather than just rattling on and on in a prepared monologue about things that they may or may not care about.
I did some readings too, some from our alphabet book, some from books they had in the classrooms, and I brought Edward Lear's poem, The Jumblies, as well. It's always hard for me to choose something to read aloud to a room full of children, because I liked rather odd things as a child, Victorian nonsense poetry being near the top of that list, and can never assume that the liking will transfer. The language is certainly not that of modern children's books, but I never liked many modern children's books, preferring anything that assumed a certain level of intelligence. In any case, The Jumblies was a hit overall. One little boy especially enjoyed it, and told me he didn't want me to leave when I got up to go to the next class. It was only after I was all done for the day that the principal told me that that particular boy was usually very difficult and always claimed that he couldn't read or didn't like reading. That was my triumph of the day.