Sunday, March 2, 2014

Author Visit with Jessica Young on February 24, 2014

On February 24, 2014 we had author Jessica Young visit our school. I met Jessica and heard her read her book, My Blue Is Happy, at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville over fall break. (You can see my earlier post about that weekend.) Jessica did three presentations for us - one for kindergarten/first grade, one for second/third grade, and one for fourth/fifth grade. The sessions were timed perfectly for the attention spans of the different grade levels and kept the students interested and engaged throughout the program.

Jessica shared photos of favorite activities from her childhood and talked about how she still enjoys doing many of the same things. The last of the photos showed her scribbling on a piece of paper when she was a toddler, proving that she wanted to write things even back then. She also explained the importance of rough drafts and editing, as well as the amount of perseverance needed to handle rejection letters while waiting to be published.

Her discussion of writing tools such as alliteration and simile had volunteers eager to share their own ideas with her or comment on parts of the book that they had enjoyed. The questions and comments ranged from the students' own similes to curiosity about the colors that were not included in the final version of the story. The talk about the editing process and the way that picture pages are printed was very helpful. I especially liked the image she used of the story seeds that are inside each of your minds and how we need to nurture them and make them grow.

At the end of the session Jessica graciously autographed books for her fans and answered even more questions. She also had several students who suggested titles for the first books in her upcoming chapter book series. (They were pleased that she asked for their advice.)

You can visit Jessica's website for more information about her and her books.

Here are some photos of the visit.

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