- Read their books before the visit.
- Talk about what makes this book different from other books you’ve read … and what makes this book special.
- Talk about how the book makes you feel … and techniques the author and/or illustrator has used to achieve this.
- Talk about the shape and placement of the words on the page.
- Talk about what the illustrations bring to the story.
- Do activities inspired by the book.
- Write and illustrate your own text innovation.
- Experiment with the style and medium that you think the illustrator may have used.
- Create a book or a banner, to showcase student work.
- Have your camera ready to take photos of your amazing kids with these very appreciative visitors.
Don’t do all these things for the author … or illustrator … though they certainly will appreciate it! Do it for the kids – who will by then be so excited to meet this visitor who they know so much about, that they will hang onto every word they say, and display everything you have ever taught them about respect …. and manners … and then they’ll ask rich questions like, ‘What would you be prepared to give up for your writing?’ and ‘How do you feel inside when you write a book?’
And even though time is up and the session is over, those kids will hang around and want more and more, because you have inspired such an interest and birthed a wealth of questions, that haven’t all been answered …
And when the author, or illustrator leaves your school, they will tell everyone about the amazing group of kids they worked with, and the incredible, inspiring educators, who go far and beyond expectations to light a passion for words and story in their students, and who, through their dedication and creativity, change lives.
If you do all these things, you are amazing. End of story.
Thank-you to the staff and students of Tannum Sands State School, and especially Mrs Chris McMasters, who inspired this blog post when I visited during the 2016 Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale. You are all kinds of amazing!