Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Sunny Brae Middle School
Yesterday I did a WISP (writers in school program)visit at Sunny Brae Middle School in Moncton. It was my first author visit this school year and I felt a bit apprehensive. Would I be able to muster my energy and gear up for a day of non stop interaction with middle school kids? On my way I heard an interview with Chris Hadfield and it was as if he was speaking right to me . He talked about fear and bravery. Now I know in the whole scheme of things talking to large groups of kids might not be the scariest thing in a world of very scary things but it does hold some peril especially when you are allowing them to see your vulnerability. So Chris gave me a pep talk and I got down to business. I presented four sessions in the gym to the entire student body. The kids were wonderful. Each presentation took on a personality of it own and even though the gym teacher was required to sit through all four he heard slightly different presentations each time. I marvel at how the audience shapes my presentations. The last group was a grade 5 crowd and they were delightful. Somehow my presentation brought me around to reading the last page of The Year Mrs. Montague Cried. I have stated many times that I would never read that passage in public. I always felt I would not be able to read it without completely breaking down. However as part of yesterday's format in a couple of the groups I asked the kids to select the reading by asking for the book and a specific page. The last request by a student in the Grade 5 group was Book 1 ,last page. I considered refusing but did not. I read it. Afterwards I told the kids I thought I couldn't do it but I had and that I deserved a round of applause for that. They generously clapped and acknowledged my efforts. I did not plan that and of all the other gifts the morning gave me that was the huge one. I then got to conduct a writing workshop with 22 great kids that were bursting with enthusiasm for writing. Thank you students of Sunny Brae and Lynn Carter for inviting me. Thank you to their librarian for such a warm welcome and her generous support of my work.