Last week Jessi Kirby, author of Moonglass, came to visit with my students. It was our first author visit, and it ended up being a ton of fun for all of us.
In one of those "it's a small world" sort of moments, I discovered that Jessi used to teach / be a librarian at the middle school that feeds into the high school where I teach. So we totally had the same students! Having her come visit my school was a total no-brainer, since she actually knows these kids.
We have loooong block scheduling classes, so she came for the first period of the day on Thursday and we broke it up into two sessions. Three classes came in the first session and three in the second session. What we didn't realize was that Thursday ended up being the senior ditch day, so a bunch of the seniors (who were the last kids that she taught) weren't there, which was a bit of a bummer. But we still had a great crowd anyway!
Jessi told the students all about her process for writing Moonglass, from idea all the way to publication. And what was cool was that she had visuals for each and every step. She showed them the paper where she jotted down her very first idea for the book and then her huge stack of edit notes from her editor, explaining every piece of the publication process along the way. It was really cool for them to see all of the revision that goes into writing. (Any English teachers out there know that getting students to understand that their writing isn't perfect after they put the final period on their first draft will feel me on that one.)
After that she opened it to Q&A, and the students had all kinds of great questions about her cover designs, future projects, and writing process. Then she pulled out this box of poetry anthologies that the current seniors did back in eighth grade and handed them back to them. They sure had a lot of fun flipping through their old work. I always love when they get to look at their old stuff like that.
Word spread that Jessi was on campus, so people were popping in even after we were done to say hello and get their poetry notebooks. When I got back to class, my students couldn't stop talking about it, and as I walked around campus I saw students bragging to other students about the bookmarks Jessi had signed for them.
It was just such a FUN day of getting the kids talking about writing and reading, and I think it made a big impact that they knew Jessi. That they could look at her and say, here is this person I know and like and admire, and she did this really cool thing.
It would be so awesome to get more authors on campus to talk to the kids...hopefully we can make it happen somehow.
*I'm protecting the identity of the minors, yo