You will notice I've got two quite different photos to illustrate today's blog entry. The first pic is of students I met during my return visit to Orchard Elementary in LaSalle. Today, I worked with grades five and six students. Because they are a little older than the students I met at Orchard on Monday, I was able to get into more detail about my book What World Is Left. I also read them a little from one of my earlier books, No More Pranks. The students were a great audience, very focused and attentive and they had many excellent questions, mostly about my mum's experience during World War II, material I explore in What World Is Left. One student wanted to know how I managed to get my mum to share a secret she had kept for more than 60 years. I thought that was a pretty sophisticated question. I explained how I didn't start by asking my mum the really difficult querstions; I worked my way up to them. For instance, I spent several days asking my mum about her life before the war before I asked her about her experience in Theresienstadt, a Nazi concentration camp.
To my great delight, I had three visitors at lunch time -- Katherine, Tenaiya, and Isabelle -- all grade three students at Orchard. I'd met them on Monday and they came back to chat and ask some more questions. Tenaiya wanted to know what book I'm going to work on next. I told her I'm planning to write a book about miracles. I asked Tenaiya what she thought about miracles and here's what she told me: "I never saw a miracle, but I believe in them anyhow!" The funny thing is, I feel the same way as Tenaiya!
The second picture is of YA author Jill Murray who dropped by to visit my Writing for Children class today at Marianopolis College. Jill is the author of Break On Through, a novel about a feisty breakdancer named Nadine. Jill told us she is a fan of "horribly cheesy dance movies." She also explained that her own experience learning to breakdance and getting to know other breakdancers inspired her to write this book.
Jill gave the class a mini-breakdancing lesson -- in what she called "top rock" moves -- and then she asked us to write about the experience. Her goal, she told us, was to help us "write about something non-verbal." One of my students, Sophie, got so into the exercise she spent the rest of the class writing away. So thanks, Jill, for your visit and for showing us some pretty cool moves!!
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