Why exactly did I schedule my book launch before the book was finished?
When I first talked to the school librarian about presenting Scissortown, she wanted the launch to coincide with Family Literacy Day. Coralie was still busy coloring, but that was no problem because I intended to read only the first half of the story anyway. The bright centre page spread made a lovely stopping place. “The Slicers and Dicers left town and everyone was happy until . . . Oh no! These pictures aren’t colored! We’ll have to finish the story another time.”
So, what was I thankful for?
Everyone was prepared. The librarian had my schedule timed to the minute. She also had the technology (and the help I needed with the technology), as well as paper, crayons and pencils.
The teachers and students were prepared to meet an author. (How else would I have been taken for Robert Munsch??)
The hours I’d spent in preparation paid off, as I used almost everything I’d brought.
The librarian introduced me and provided updates as to the number of minutes I had left. This was very helpful.
The teachers kept order, allowing me to focus on the task at hand.
They also gave me free reign. At one point I had only two minutes left, and no one batted an eye when I introduced a new activity. (I also respected their time, finishing as soon as I was told the time was up.)
The teachers had read my suggestions beforehand and chosen what they wanted. Most (except those who taught very young children) wanted me to talk about being a writer. They also wanted the students to write a story together, which we did in small groups.
What would I do another time?
I’d read book blurbs and introductions and have the older students rate them as a warm-up, as I did this time.
I’d also go over the elements of a short story again before giving the students the writing prompts. However, I’d give some consideration to developing an activity (in addition to discussion) about these elements.
I’d use Coralie’s slide show with more than just the kindergarten class. (It featured 16 original thumbnails, and followed the progression of two of them from super-rough copy to final colored picture.) The kindergartners had fun seeing Katie Kat’s progress, and I think there are ways I could use the slide show for the older ones, too.