Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fun: a Fabulous Author Visit

I don’t usually blog about school visits, but my recent experience at New Boston Central School in New Boston, NH, was so great that I have to gush—just a bit. This is an example of a school doing everything right.

Kerri Kelley, wife of author-illustrator Marty Kelley, was my primary contact during the planning stages and throughout the day. And she did a sensational job. Seriously. She thought of every last detail.

The library had a nice collection of my books and the kids had been introduced to many of them before the visit. The school bought me lunch, and they even provided snacks. Wow.

But most important of all, the kids were prepared and engaged and they asked fabulous questions. They listened carefully and they saw connections between the information I was presenting with almost no prompting from me. They made my job so easy and fun.
I did the same presentation four times—to two groups of second graders and two groups of third graders (see photos). We talked about my book A Place for Birds and all the cool things about bird anatomy, physiology, and behavior that made me want to write about them in the first place.

They compared their armspans to the wingspans of eagles, owls, and herons. They held bags of sand representing the weights of various birds and learned the reasons birds weigh less than we might expect.

The budding scientists determined their heart rates and compared them to those of various birds. They even figured out how much they’d have to eat every day if they ate like a sparrow—about 100 hamburgers. I bet their moms are relieved they don’t have to do all that cooking!

I’m doing this presentation again next week at another elementary school in New Hampshire. I hope it goes just as well.

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