A few weeks ago I did my first ever reading for elementary school children. I participated in career day at Corona Elementary where I read from my novel Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, and had a very funny encounter with a third grader. If you'd like to read about the encounter it's posted on my Facebook Fan Page.(No longer available) Click on the link, and scroll down to about the center of the page.
I found speaking to, and reading for such a young audience both refreshing and rewarding. This afternoon when I got in I saw a large envelope from Corona Elementary in the mail. It felt like a velo binder. I knew they had taken a few photos of the Career Day guests as we gathered and I assumed it was a photo or two. Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope and found a binder filled with letters to me from Third graders. One of the beauties of being a nine year-old, In case you've forgotten (I know I had) is that when you write a letter you always include a piece of personal art. I got such a kick out of the artwork included that I thought I would share a bit of it with you here.
Diana's artwork included three sad-faced zombie boys pursuing her for her brains! I know you can't see it, but Diana is depicted reading my book. The bubble over her head reads: "Sure do love this book." I sure did love your letter, Diana. Thank you.
Francisco, got even more personal. His personal art shows zombies attacking both me and him. I am dressed as a police officer, with a gun. Francisco is a fire fighter, staving off a bent-necked zombie with his fire hose. And see that zombie in the left hand corner--that thing in front of his head is a bullet from my gun. Francisco wrote "I want to be a writer, too. You're cool." You are, too Francisco. And thanks for being responsible and letting the adult handle the fire arm--even if he doesn't know how.
Antonio, really took creative license with my book. He not only has zombies attacking the poor defenseless children (you can tell the children because their hair seems to be on fire), he's got a robot, a ghost, and Oh nooooo! A PUPPET! In Antonio's world, puppets are creepy--sort of like mimes. I love your imagination, Antonio.
Christian, decided to be very cinematic and go the black and white route, rendering his drawing in charcoal. I believe we have a film maker in the making. Thanks, Christian.
What I like about Brenda's artwork is the vivid color... AND the fact there are no zombies in the drawing. Flowers, clouds, a blue sky and a smiling Brenda reading my book. She seems to be enjoying it, so who cares if there are no zombies when there's a big old smile.
That's a representative sampling of what I received from the third graders at Corona Elementary. The book of letters is the best parting gift I have ever received. There's nothing that warms the heart more than a letter from a child that comes with personal art. Third graders are very expressive. You can learn more from their drawings than you can from their letters. Judging from the tone of the drawings, I was a big hit with the kids. Thank you, Corona Elementary. You guys were a big hit with me as well. Hope you will have me back.
I hope you guys out there enjoyed these letters as much as I did.