Thursday, June 28, 2012

My First Author Visit

When I decided that I wanted to write children's books, I wasn't aware that there was much else involved besides coming up with an idea, writing the story, sending it off to a publisher, and eventually signing autographs. That simple, right?

OBVIOUSLY I now know that there is so much more to it than that. But I never imagined that I would be invited to a school to share my book. Fortunately, a few weeks ago, that's exactly what happened. And last week, I found myself sitting in front of several students who were all there wanting me to read my book.

My morning started pretty early... I had to drive thirty-five minutes to drop the kids off at Grandpa's house, then drive an additional 1.5hrs up the mountain to the super cute, super secluded, super tiny Big Creek School. I was, in a word, pumped. I was blasting music I do not typically listen to (because, let's face it, I'm NEVER alone in the car!); I'm talkin' some loud mid to late 90s Rap, some fierce Lady Gaga, some superb Sublime, and the best of Beastie Boys. My speakers were blaring, my windows were down, and my self confidence was through the moonroof! It didn't matter that I'd stayed up all night setting up the activity I planned on doing with the kids...


Okay, so 1.5hrs of driving in the windy mountains that I love so much was a looong time. I noticed the caffeine high starting to tame, so I turned on some Fleetwood Mac and The Civil Wars, and calmed my (clearly overcompensated for) nerves.

When I arrived at the school, I found my way to the office and asked where I should be headed. The school was out for the summer, so the halls were very empty. I was there for their summer program! I told the receptionist who I was and why I was there. She looked confused until I said, "I'm the Author." She jumped from her seat, and with a large grin, she hugged me. Yes. Hugged me.

When I got to the classroom, I began to set things up. A friend of mine helped me with the Protheam board (which was SO cool, by the way), and slowly the kids trickled in. They were mostly Preschoolers, but that worked out A-OK for me! I sat myself down in front of the class and had to use my I'm-oh-so-interesting voice (picture a Disney Princess/super sugary mom voice). Low and behold, I began to read.

The kids loved it. They answered questions about their younger/older siblings, about birthday parties they'd been to, and what they thought friends were all about. Then it was off to the activity!

With a GIANT thanks to my savior, Jennifer Young, my activity consisted of handing each child a bag that said "A Best Friend is..." on it, and have them collect various items that represented what friendship is to them. For example, a rock represented "Strength", a BandAid was "Heals hurt feelings", a LifeSaver (candy) was "Helps you when you're stuck", etc. It was incredible to watch these little kids value friendship so much.

Along with the wonderful coloring pages that the amazing Tyler Parker donated, the kids were set! It was over quite quickly, but every child said thank you and that they'd had a lot of fun.
One girl (I believe she was 4 or 5 years old) told me she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Beaming and overjoyed, I asked her, "Why's that?" Her answer sums up the very reason why every writer I know is a writer...
"Because I have a lot of stories in
my head that need to get out."

I had so much fun. First one down... Here's to many, many more!


Special thanks to Big Creek School! I hope to join you again sometime! And a HUGE thanks to Emily Anderson... From day one, you've been supporting me and encouraging me. Thanks for setting this up, and for being an excellent photographer! :)


  1. That little might remember you years from now. I still remember the author who inspired to be a writer. Congrats again on the wonderful visit! Cheers to many more successful visits.

  2. Sooooo wonderful to hear about your day! Love that activity! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  3. What a wonderful day, and fantastic intro to school visits. I know there'll be many more books and school visits to come.

    That little girl's words brought happy tears to my eyes. She is one of us!

  4. This was such a lovely post to read. Those activities were spot on at that kid was cherry on the cake! Yay for the first of many!

  5. Bethant, I loved hearing the whole process and seeing your pictures. So glad you enjoyed yourself. Here's to many many more school visits!!!

  6. That's so much fun!! Love that little one's wisdom.

  7. How fun, Bethany...congrats on your first school visit! The little girl summed up our reason for writing beautifully.

  8. This is so exciting! I am so glad that everything worked out so well. I love what the little girl said to you. Precious!

  9. Oh that was so cool Bethany, I am so happy it all went so well and that little girl will remember you for quite some time I am sure of it. Congrats!

  10. Congratulations! How exciting. Thanks for sharing your visit with us. That must be amazing for you to be able to say, "I am the author." Yes, you are!

  11. School visits are the best. It sounds like you did a great job. Congratulations, and may there be many many more books and visits and inspiring 5 year olds in your future.

  12. Bethany, thank you for sharing your special day with us. Enjoyed the pictures. Imagine, your first Author's Visit! Yes! Here's to many, many more!

  13. What an exciting time for you. So how does it feel to be famous? I'm so proud of you! Congrats on the first of many Author's visits!

  14. What a fun experience. Congratulations. That's a great activity. And, funny how the reason for being an author never changes whether you are 4 or 5 or you are 45 (or a little younger).