Friday, September 17, 2010

The Power of Imagination

Introducing myself as an author: cool

Showing kids my mini-laptop and Nook gadgets: fun

Talking about writing and word choice with bunches of second graders: highlight of my month

The kids wanted to know how long it took to write my book (6 mos) and I told them how I revised it many times and had three editors to make sure it was all correct (they are learning about revisions in class). We talked about how authors very carefully pick their words so that they paint a picture in reader's minds. And I walked them through an exercise where we used our five senses to come up with word choices to describe our favorite sport. It was a challenge to describe how soccer smells ("like grass") or how dancing tastes ("salty"), but it was tremendous fun.

My favorite part came when I read a descriptive scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We're on platform Nine and Three-Quarters and Lee has just lifted the lid of a box in his arms ... "the people around him shrieked and yelled as something inside poked out a long, hairy leg."

Just one of the fantastic throw-away tidbits that J.K. Rowling has in her books.

We had talked about how words paint a picture in your mind, but that the picture may be different in each person's head. So, I asked them, "What's in the box?"

A purple cat.
A rat with a long tail.
A dragon.
A monkey.
A hairy cat.
A tarantula (this is the one I always thought, too).

The imagination of children never ceases to amaze me (seriously? purple cat? I never saw that coming).


  1. Sounds like you had a fantastic time sharing with the second graders. And I'll bet you had their minds going a mile a minute on words. :)

  2. I did a presentation for my son's 3/4 grade last year. The first thing I was asked was if I wrote Twilight. ;)

  3. Sounds like you had so much fun! I'll bet they loved it too.

  4. @DL Their minds - and their mouths! :)

    @Stina LOL!! Did you say yes?

    @Shallee It was awesome! :)

  5. Sounds like a great time - you're so brave! I can't do public speaking...
    I always thought tarantula too! Though perhaps it was a C Class illegal creature :-)

  6. Trevor enjoyed your presentation. He was particularly impressed with the electronic book!

  7. @Deniz The second graders are by far the easiest crowd I've spoken in front of! :)

    @Lynn I'm so glad! The kids seemed amazed that 2000 books could fit on that one device. :)

  8. How exciting! And how proud your kids must be :)

  9. Yay! Sounds like you had a blast. Glad you shared the pics with us (wish I had a youtube vid of it too!)Can't wait to read about more of your book tour adventures.

  10. Love school visits! It reminds you what we DO THIS FOR!

  11. Sue, It sounds like you had a ball! Congratulations on being a success..... :-)

  12. I loved the purple cat, too. And the dragon. A dragon in a box, what a thought! I have asked my kids for advice several times when stuck on a particular scene that needs some creativity I can't seem to come up with, and while I don't always use thier inventive ideas, they always end up inspiring me! This post reminded me of that. By the way, I've mentioned you in my most recent post - so many of your posts get me thinking!

  13. So much fun! Kids are so creative! I often wonder what happens to make that disappear or dwindle in so many adults.

    Glad you had such a great time :)

  14. That is so awesome! My daughter is in second grade this year, and it is so much fun. I love exploring the imagination of kids. Congrats!

  15. Teaching can be such a hoot! I teach middle school social studies and adore this age group, and all the ups and down they are going through. Every time I sit down in front of my laptop to work, I always remind myself: "Write for them."

  16. I think it is wonderful that you did this. We so need people inspiring kids to use their imaginations, instead of being captivated by TV or mindless computer games. I encourage authors, scientist, mathematicians to take the time to pass on the wisdom and knowledge you have to our children.


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