Hello hello dear blog readers! I'm just back from a whirlwind trip to London, Ontario where I visited two schools: John Dearness Public School and Mountsfield School. In all, I spoke to four groupsof Grades 7 and 8 students, and over lunch at Mountsfield yesterday, I had a little one-on-one time with a small group of very keen, very talented young writers (all girls by the way, where were the boys hiding?!).
Two of the first students I met at John Dearness were Helen and Dalton. Like the others Grade Sevens at the school, they had been working on "mind maps" of my book 121 Express. I was really excited to see their work. In small groups, they had divided a large sheet of paper into four sections: theme, characters, setting and plot -- and most of them drew a school bus in the center of the page. I actually took some photos of the mind maps, which I plan to send to Orca (my publisher) so they will know what cool stuff Canadian students are up to.
You know me, I'm always on the lookout for unusual body language. Well yesterday, I met a student (Dalton) who was twisting one foot in the air. What made that move extra interesting was that Dalton had kicked off one of her sneakers (the right one) so the foot she was twisting was only wearing a sock! One young man named Klevis looked a little too relaxed, so I taught him everything I know about how to look studious -- and if I may so myself, I worked miracles with that boy. By the end of my presentation, he was Superstudent (a variation on Superman)!
After my morning at John Dearness, teacher-librarian Angela Van Lanen zipped me over to Mountsfield. I got there just in time for pizza lunch in the library. Luckily, Mountsfield librarian Pat Haggith let me eat as much pizza as I wanted (school presentations really build an appetite)!!
Over lunch, I met 11 very motivated and talented young writers. Leanne, who's in Grade Seven, has already written 16 chapters of a book!! I only had time to read a page or two, but as I told Leanne, I was into it!! She has come up with a very interesting situation and story-line. Now, I told Leanne, she needs to think about having a strong narrative voice (or perhaps voices, Leanne, if you decide to go with four separate narrators). Another student, Missy, is working on a book about street racing, and the beginning of her book also looked promising. Rebecca, a talented artist, is working on a sci-fi piece and from the sounds of it, she's kind of obsessed with her story -- and you know what, that's a sign of a good writer!
My day flew by. Each group I spoke to was a little different -- and that is exactly what makes school visits exciting.
On the train rides (two of them) to London, I did lots of work, but on the way home, you know what I did? I looked out the window a lot and I smiled a lot -- mostly because I was remembering my visit and the young people I'd met.
Special thanks to Angela Van Lanen and Pat Haggith for bringing me down (or is it up? My writing is better than my geography!!). My world feels a little fuller since I met all of you.
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Monique! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and visit John Dearness Public School. Your high energy presentations were so informative and also very entertaining--not an easy thing to do! I hope that both your great writing tips and tips for life will be remembered long after your visit. I just know there are many new stories waiting to be written!
Best of luck as you write your next book--you have many eager fans in London awaiting it's release!
Angela Van Lanen, Teacher-Librarian
John Dearness Public School
Hi Monique! I am a student at Mountsfield. I enjoyed your speech a lot! very informative and entertaining. I learned a lot about writing strategies and I'm sure they will help me with any future writing I do. Thanks for coming to Mountsfield and talking to us!
Hi, Monique. I'm a student from Mountsfield Public School. You are a great public speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed your speech. I learned alot about the writing process and how it's very difficult to get something accepted by a publisher. I also learned alot about body language. ;D > 8) :P :-* :'( ;D > 8) :P :-* :'( ;D > 8) :P :-* :'( ;D > 8) :P :-* :'(
Thank you for visiting Mountsfield on Wednesday!
I really enjoyed the writing tips you gave us, especially your opinions on the first bit of my story. It was very interesting when you analysed the group’s body language.
We really hope you liked the pizza lunch, and had a good time learning about the ideas that my peers and I had come up with.
Thanks for the visit!
Mountsfield Public School
London, ON ;D
Hello hello Mrs. Van Lanen, Tristan, Justin, Leanne and Taylor!
Did I tell you how much I enjoy getting comments on the blog? So I'm glad you guys enjoyed my visits. I am still feeling very energized after my trip to visit you. Wouldn't it be cool if one day, in the not too distant future, I get to read one of YOUR books? So I wish all of you a happy weekend. My daughter is home, visiting from New York, so I'm in mum heaven!
Good luck with your writing. If you write a lot and are determined, chances are good you'll be able to make it as professional writers!
Hi, Monique I am a student from Mountsfield public school and I just wanted to thank you for coming to talk to us and give us all those great tips on writing. I am sure that they will help me out when I'm older.
Hello Monique my name is Kevin and I am a student at Mounts field, I enjoyed your performance and i look forward to reading some of your books. I learned a lot like i never knew how the publisher system works and how many times you need to revise your book. Thanks for coming to Mounts field.
I'm a student from Mountsfield and I found your speech really encouraging. I have a story that I've been working on for a while and it's at chapter 12 and now I'm going through and rewriting it. I've also started a new story because of your speech. Thank you so much for visiting Mountsfield.
Very exciting to hear from you guys in London, Ont. Austin and Kevin, I'm glad you enjoyed my talk. Makes me feel good to think that I am reaching young people. And Alanna, I'm delighted to hear that you are rewriting and have even begun a new story. Way to go!!