Yesterday I had a lovely author visit in Massachusettes. I read Wink The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed to groups of Kindergartners and First Graders and told them about how I made the book. Then I visited their classrooms and taught students how to make a collage Wink.
They did a really great job with the project. It’s always fun to see what groups of kids will glitch on, though. For this group, it was the eyes. Because of the nature of the collage, the eyes are the last thing we do. They are small and they go on top. So they’re last. That’s how collage works. But kids have a really hard time with creating a face without eyes. It’s like it just doesn’t make sense to them. It’s too abstract. Kids kept asking me, “When are we doing the eyes? You forgot the eyes!” By the time I was at the fourth group, I was giving everyone a warning up front, “Don’t worry. We’ll do the eyes last. I won’t forget the eyes.” That helped – but still, some kids could not help themselves from drawing eyes on the back of the collage – just so the face makes sense to them.
Sometimes there is a chunk of downtime between classroom visits. It’s okay if I show up to a classroom five minutes early, but fifteen is too much. They might be reading a story or doing some other kind of lesson. Sometimes I’ll pop into the library, but this school was so big and a little confusing, I didn’t want to get lost. So I just sat in the stairwell. If ever anyone thinks being a professional author is glamorous, all they have to do is look at this picture of me hanging out in a stairwell to know that it’s a myth. Still … nice stairwell.