Friday, July 27, 2012

Skype Visit with Kate Messner

My boys Liam (left), Luke (right), and my niece Meredith.

Last week was my son’s family birthday party. My niece, Meredith, came in from out of town to see Luke. I picked her up at my mom’s house to bring her over to mine and we began catching up along the way. Meredith is going into third grade this year. I have purchased many books for her as gifts. Not seeing her regularly I miss out on hearing how she enjoyed them. But this day as we were driving, she asked about the cupcakes I had purchased for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. I pointed out a house on our route and said the woman who lived there made them. I also mentioned that this woman was known for her love of animals and she helps rescue animals in our town.

Meredith immediately piped up from the back seat, “Like Marty McGuire and her mom!”

I smiled and asked how she enjoyed Marty. She began talking a mile a minute about reading Marty, what she loved about her, did I know she brought a real frog to the play, etc. Then she asked if I knew that there was a second book? I said yes and then told her I had an extra copy of that book at my house if she’d like it. I think that made her day.

Kate Messner, the author of the aforementioned Marty McGuire books, is amazing. I first “met” her on Twitter when I joined three years ago. When I first started following her it was because she was a teacher. Then I realized she was a writer as well. I remember seeing The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. in the bookstore and being so excited for her. I’ve purchase all of her books – and they are all wonderful. She has Skyped with my school for family reading night, with my class for World Read Aloud Day. And when I have met her, at IRA and NCTE, she has been so unbelievably wonderful. So when I asked her if she’d Skype with my reading camp, she – of course – said yes.

I’ve read the first Marty McGuire book to my camp kids over the month of June. As I told other friends I was impressed at how all of my students fell in love with Marty. I have kids as young as 7 and as old as twelve. I have nine boys and three girls. They LOVED this book. They laughed out loud as I read. They asked me what happened if they missed a week of camp. When I told them Kate was going to Skype with us, they were beyond thrilled.

The day of the Skype we had questions ready for Kate. Each child got the chance to go up and ask her their question. I was amused by how nervous some of them were. How they gasped when she told them she was writing a third Marty book. She told them the title, where the holes were in the story so far, and how she was going to fill those holes.

Kate shared her writing notebook. She told the kids why she had pages torn out of it, what her writing process was. She also talked about the research she does for her books. I know she couldn’t see the whole group as well as I could, but they were enthralled.

As I wrote when my campers Skyped with Ame Dyckman back in June HERE, authors are my rock stars. I’m so grateful to Kate for Skyping with my students, and for writing the books she does. This insures that more and more of my students will begin to revere authors just as I do. Thanks Kate!!

Today to celebrate Kate and authors everywhere, I am giving away one copy of each of the Marty McGuire books. Please enter below. One winner will get both Marty McGuire and Marty McGuire Digs Worms!

Giveaway Rules

1. This giveaway will run from July 27th until 11:59 pm July 30th. (Central time zone)

2. This contest is open to people living in the continental United States.

3. You must be at least 13 years to enter.

4. If you can, please pay it forward. Thanks!