Don't you like today's pic? It was taken by Miss Rachelle, one of three Grade Five teachers at Westmount Park School whose classes I worked with this morning.
My talk was arranged by Elizabeth Macdonnell, librarian at the Montreal Children's Library. The plan was for me to speak at the library, but the sidewalks are so slick and wet in Montreal today, that in the end, Elizabeth and I scooted over to the school and I did my talk right there.
I must say it was fun! Usually, I have to ask students (even the ones in my own classes at Marianopolis) to settle down and adjust their body language, but I never had to say a word to these kids. They were alert and attentive the whole time. Thanks you guys!
Some highlight of today's visit: A student named Sabrina came to meet us at the school office. "Are you the famous writer?" she asked. But just so my head wouldn't get too swollen, the first young man I met when I walked into the classroom said, "Hey! I never heard of you!!"
A student named Kevon asked me a very deep question about my book What World Is Left, which is based on my mum's experience in a Nazi concentration camp. I explained to the students that if it were not for the propaganda drawings my grandfather was forced by the Nazis to make, I would not be alive. Kevon asked: "Do you feel bad or sad knowing that you were not supposed to be made?" Not only did I think that was a wonderful sensitive question, but I also thought Kevon expressed it in a poetic way -- quite unusual for a young man in Grade Five. My answer is that I do not feel bad or sad. Instead, I feel very privileged to have this chance at life.
I learned that another young man, let's call him... Dakota ... had to spend lunch in the detention room. I reminded him of the point I'd made during my talk: trouble makes good stories. Dakota, maybe you should write a story about a boy eating his lunch in a detention room.
On my way out of the school, a student named Kaitlyn reminded me to mention a guy named Austin in today's blog. Austin is the Grade Five computer wiz who made sure I didn't have trouble with the whiteboard.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Macdonnell for organizing today's visit, to the Canada Council for providing the funding, to the Grade Five teachers at Westmount Park for sending me such lovely students, and especially to the students themselves... you guys really made me happy!!