When my picture book RED, WHITE AND BLUE GOOD-BYE came out, I was lucky enough to be invited to make several school visits. Each experience was a little different but most of the schools I visited were impacted by military deployments – although it might be safe to say this is probably true of most schools in San Diego. We’re a big Navy and Marine town. But also, this makes sense considering that my book is about a little girl who doesn’t want to say good-bye to her daddy when duty calls.
The title of my book lends itself to fun decorations – I was often greeted with lots of reds, whites, and blues!
I love school visits – the students are always fun and thoughtful and their teachers are appreciative and curious.
This experience has influenced the stories I write. When a new picture book idea comes to me, it has to pass the school visit test: Would I want to talk about this book in front of an auditorium of energetic kids?
I recently attended a dinner and discussion meeting of San Diego SCBWI published members.
Our gracious host, Edith Hope Fine – whether she wants the role or not – is also our leader, mentor, Mama-bear, Queen, and all around dynamo of inspiration.
Edith had asked us to bring any extra yarn we might have to help with her project of knitting hats for preemie babies around the world. Besides knitting them herself, Edith takes yarn and a nifty-knitter gadget with her to school visits. There she teaches a student how to make a stitch, then that student passes the nifty-knitter on, teaching the next person how. Each and every person contributes and makes a difference.
I love this! So simple, so profound… and, so very practical. I’m sure this helps to keep the students focused, engaged and excited.
AND, it is a perfect tie-in to the book ARMANDO AND THE BLUE TARP SCHOOL, which Edith wrote with Judith Pinkerton Josephson. This lovely book is a fictional tribute to the work and inspiration of David Lynch who is dedicated to teaching children who live near the Tijuana dumps.
From Edith’s website:
When I’m not writing or reading, you’ll find me swimming or walking, baking, or making soup. In between my plants and flowers, I grow vegetables! I watch old-timey movies, have fun with my family, email pals around the country, do Sudokus, compost and recycle (call me the “Recycling Queen”), and work toward fairness and justice for all on this small blue marble we call home.
Obviously, Armando’s story is something Edith feels passionate about. Edith is also smart and funny and articulate – but her passion is why I would love to see one of her fabulous school presentations. If you are an author planning a visit, check out her guidelines for schools – it’s a great how-to as well.
Can’t wait to see her new book coming out this summer: WATER, WEED, AND WAIT. And to hear about her tie-ins to this one!
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK