Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Importance of Authors

My homeroom with Jaleigh Johnson
While we don't have the benefit of too many author visits in our tiny town, we are blessed to have a few authors in the area. Marianne Malone who wrote Sixty-Eight Rooms has been to my classroom to visit my students several times over the years. Last year, Jaleigh Johnson moved into my neighborhood. I learned that she was the author of a soon to be published book (at that time) called Mark of the Dragonfly and asked her to speak to my class then, and again this year. Every time either of these amazing authors have visited my classroom, I have marveled at the impact of their words on my students. I am profoundly grateful that they take the time to come in.
These ladies write brilliant books, I tell you! 
Katy introducing Jaleigh
On Tuesday, Jaleigh Johnson came to see my ELA classes. I asked her to come in and share a bit about her writing life with them. Monday we brainstormed questions we might want to ask her on a Padlet. I shared the link with her and she tailored her talk to answering those questions. Watching their faces light up when she was answering "their" question was priceless. Listening to her tell them that revision is critical and how long she spends with a draft was wonderful. Now they know I am not crazy when I reinforce this message during writing workshop.

Towards the end of her time with us, Jaleigh shared some information about her next novel set in the world of Solace. While not a sequel to Mark of the Dragonfly, I'm guessing it might be considered a companion book. The students were excited to know something the rest of the world doesn't and couldn't wait to share their thoughts with me about this new book when we were done. Look for this one in early 2016. 

Preston thanking Jaleigh for coming.
After Jaleigh's talk was over, she kindly signed books, bookmarks, and writing notebooks for each child. I know that many will treasure this signature and it feels me with gratitude that she spoke to each one and made them feel heard. 
Starting the day with a quick author visit was absolute perfection. I highly recommend it and wish it could be a regular event. :) Huge thanks to Jaleigh - and Marianne - for taking the time to come to my room when I've asked. And also, thanks to the multitude of authors and illustrators who "talk" to my students on Twitter. You all have no idea the impact your words have on my kids. We appreciate it more than you can ever know. 
A new spot for a Mark of a Dragonfly tattoo. :)