Sunday, April 11, 2010

Autograph worthy?

We had an author at school the other day. He arrived during what is normally the grade 4/5 French period, so I had to take the students down to the gymnasium, and as we were about to line up, they all started grabbing pieces of paper out of the scrap bin. "Why are you bringing paper to the gym?" I asked. "We want his autograph," they told me. "Because he's an author." I had to laugh, because to them, I'm their French teacher, which makes me so not autograph worthy...and yet, the very next day, I was off to Maxwell Heights Secondary School in Oshawa to be (tah dah!) their guest author.

It was a great audience, including members of their "Girl's Group" and "Creativity Club". They asked good questions about writing and inspiration. And many of them hung around after for autographed bookmarks. (No scrap paper for my fans!) As always, I was touched and humbled to hear from so many readers who said that weren't in the habit of picking up novels, but who, after picking up Painting Caitlyn, said they couldn't put it down until they'd finished. But the story that touched me the most was this: one girl said she'd loved the book, and taken it home to her mother, who was now reading with her. After the students had left, her teacher told me that this is a girl who has rarely had any sustained interactions with her mother - let alone positive ones. But they have connected through this story. That's the transformative power of books. The autographed bookmark might not last - but I hope she has the good memories of this time with her mother forever.