Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chatting with the Middle Schoolers

Yesterday, I went to talk about ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER with a group of kids at my daughter's middle school.  "Do you want to go with me?"  I asked my daughter.  

"No.  That's okay."  She said it politely, but firmly.  

I was thinking that writing a middle-grade novel might put me up a little higher on the coolness meter....but...well, you know.  It's middle school and I'm her mom.  Would it help if I was Stephanie Meyer? I asked myself.  Probably not.

The book club kids at her school were great.  But the best thing about them, was they were kids just like me a while back.  (Only they called it Junior High way back then in the Dark Ages...)  They lived and breathed books, just like I had (okay, like I still do!).  They were smart and well-spoken and they listened so intently.  My favorite part was toward the end of my spiel when I said, "Do you have any questions for me?"

"Actually, we have nine," one of them said.  

The rest nodded in agreement.  You gotta love that.  Not "ten", or "I don't know", or the ever-popular shoulder shrug.  Nine.  They were curious, they were thoughtful and they were readers.

One of their teachers asked if they'd like to take a picture.  We were in the library and one of the girls points to a prominent area of shelves.  "How about in the Twilight Zone?"  

Stephanie Meyer, you're killing me...

But a teacher so gracefully said, "I think the light might be a little too bright over there."  She pointed to the bookshelves next to the circulation desk.  "How about over there?" she said.  "...under that big sign that says NEW..."


Tim Haywood said...

In third grade, Paul Bozich and I got banned from our school library by Miss McConnell, the librarian, for borrowing a tape recorder, recording all the profane words we knew, and playing it back to each other.
She noticed that we were giggling over in the corner with headphones on, so she grabbed my headphones and listened. I didn't know exactly what she was listening to, but I was sure it was either Paul or me swearing. I just watched her facial expression transform from neutral to red, puffy and irate. She then instructed Paul and I, in her two-packs-of-Pall-Malls-a-day voice, to not return to the Chinook Elementary library until the fall of 1972.

Jeannine Atkins said...

What a great post. Middle school. I think I spoke at my daughter's school in sixth grade, and I asked if there was anything special she wanted me to say. Tell them you're not related to Emily, Emily said.

Your novel looks wonderful! I read Anne Marie Pace's blog on LJ, where I blog, and, as a Harper Lee fan, the title caught my eye so I clicked on the link. Congratulations on your debut and have a blast!
Jeannine Atkins

gael lynch said...

I'm so excited for you Ann! My copy of Also Known as Harper is due to arrive June 1st. But...I'm thinking it'll get here before that! See ya Sat. at 11!

Dad said...

Hi Ann,

One of the things that always amazes me is how many things have been kept from me by my kids. It seems like I may not live long enough to have everything divulged. Obviously it is now safe, because they are all adults. Take the example that Tim just gave in the comments to this blog about Paul Bozich and him.

I would have given him a severe punishment approaching lethal injection. Can you give retroactive time out to adults?



Annie said...

Thanks, Jeannine!