Hands-down the best part of my writing journey is connecting in-person with young readers. at at festivals, bookstores, schools, and libraries.
1. Book Selection and Meeting Site
The boys selected their own books that ranged from biographies and non-fiction to my e-fantasy with an ecological message, The Magical Aquarium.
Given demands of doing homework. playing sports, and just being kids, the Boys Book Club met quarterly, rotating between member houses.
2. Create a Theme
I learned tons about creating kid-friendly vibes from the moms!
Host Mom fashioned an underwater theme to immerse the boys in my book: kids sat on beach towels spread on the floor; beach shovels, goggles and sand toys sprinkled around the room added to the ocean feel. Host Mom even filled pails filled with crayons and pencils the boys would use for activities.
4. Use "Big" Discussion Vocabulary
The first third of our 30-minute discussion started by dissecting my tale using bookish terms most already knew:
5. Share Inside ‘Secrets’ of a Writerly Life
Next, we huddled around my laptop for a slide presentation on writing and publishing. The boys were really into this, and I loved encouraging junior authors and artists! I found techies in the group, too, who were excited to learn how computers and apps were used to create and format books.
My biggest tips for junior writers:
Write what you know; write what you love.
And edit, edit edit!
Although we answered general questions along the way, we concluded my portion of book club with Q&As. The boys wrote questions in advance and slipped them into a beach pail. I was impressed by what they wanted to know!
8. Leave Behind Something Fun
Since the boys read my e-book and I couldn't sign a physical copy, I created and signed character image cards for them. I also gave each child a coloring page and word-find printable, based on The Magical Aquarium, to do at home.
9. Serve Kid-Friendly Food When Possible
Literally, the icing on the cake came at the end of book club, when Host Mom served a killer treat supporting my book’s aquatic theme: “kelp” cupcakes (dyed-green vanilla) with watery-blue frosting and gummy fish topping. (Note: Gotta watch what's offered to make sure no one has allergies to nuts, wheat, etc.)
YOUR Catly Author Visit?
Is your classroom, library, or book club ready for a Catly author visit to get children pumped about reading? I travel in-person near my North Carolina home, southern Connecticut and adjacent New York counties; York County, Pennsylvania, or by Skype anywhere!
Learn more and schedule your author visit to build lasting memories for your young reader HERE
What tips and insights can you offer about helping kids get the most from an author visit? Please share in the comment section.
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