On Wednesday, February 17th I paid my first visit to Mrs. Cliff’s Grade 5 class at Sea Gate Elementary School in Naples, Florida. I spent over an hour in close conversation with six top readers whose opinions and insights into my book delighted me beyond measure. I could not have asked for a more rewarding inaugural class visit. It seemed Shire Summer had been truly accepted by the youthful readers for whom it was intended.
Back the following week to talk to the whole class that super group had prepared two dramatizations from the story for everyone’s amusement. Elena was the intrepid Annie, and Dominic in cat’s ears with identity tag made a hilarious Bozz. Ella’s depiction of the wounded Katherine Wakefield was enhanced with generous bandaging and Hannah’s “blood work”!
I could barely keep pace with the questions from the class. What had I read as a child? Why did I write and how long does it take to complete a novel? They could discuss plot and character, climaxes and themes. Mrs. Cliff had taught them well! Many, immigrants like myself, enjoyed sharing their varied cultural backgrounds. And they had plenty to say about their own sailing experiences or their first-hand brushes with serious illness. Autographing their books made me feel like a true celebrity! This terrific class has certainly set the bar high for author visits.