This week, I spent a couple of hours with the Grade 4 class at Morell Consolidated School—the class one of my daughters is in. And it was an amazing experience, to say the least. (Can you spot me in the photo? I am not much taller than the children.)
A few weeks ago, I asked Casey’s teacher, Mr. Van Wiechen, if he might be interested having me in to read Elora of Stone to the kids. As luck would have it, he’d been hoping to arrange for an author to come in. We chose Tuesday and Thursday of this week for me to read to the class, with Mr. Van reading a bit here and there to make sure the book would be finished in time.
There are 20 kids in this class and I’ve known most of them since they were tiny little preschoolers. But most of them didn’t know that Casey’s Mom is a writer.
When I started reading, I told the kids that it was important to me that they give their honest feedback. It was funny, because they were quite vocal about the fact that they’d let me know if it sucked so I could fix it if need be.
The good news is, they didn’t think it sucked.
They laughed at the funny parts and they were all hanging on the edge of their floor mats at the suspenseful parts.
I heard one little girl suggest the book would be a bestseller.
Another little boy commented that if he had a copy of the book he would read it a thousand times.
Mr. VanWiechen told me he heard a couple of the boys going outside for recess discussing the book, in shock that Asher was kept captive for so long.
The kids loved it. (I also was given compliments about my skull scarves and my boots, which was sweet.)
Those little boys and girls have no idea the weight of their words. It was one of the best moments of my life, to see my book have an effect like that on children that were not my own.
I wrote Elora of Stone because I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to complete a novel. And I wanted to create a fairytale world that both boys and girls would get lost in. Hearing those kids so excited about the book and getting messages from their parents asking when they can buy copies? It’s giving me feelings.
The kids are working on reviews for me, but I did receive a couple of early ones:
“I’m going to buy the book and read it a Million times.” ~Charlize
“I’m going to buy the book as soon as it comes out, and go over to Casey’s house and get it signed!” ~Jesse
I also received a review from the teacher:
“Who knew you could throw so many curves into 150 pages. This thrilling ride of sorcery and magic had the students in my class fully enveloped! It also allowed for great questions during and after for all areas of comprehension; inferring, making predictions, and analyzing. The students were so engaged they caught on that the toad was a goblin, who kept keeping an eye on Lochlan. They all laughed in unison when Lochlan tried to use his magic to make the toad hover but instead the toad ended up wearing a dress. In the days of our read-alouds half the teaching staff had requested a copy. I would recommend it to everyone, whether you are a Grade 4 student or a Grade 4 Teacher!” -Eric VanWiechen
Thank you Mr. VanWichen. Your students are awesome. And you’re pretty cool too.