Thanks to a bizarre chain of events that fell into place without a hitch (Hey, there really is a Goddess who looks after librarians) I hosted my first “name” author last Friday. We’ve had many author visits over the years, but they are mostly the self published type. Pleasant enough folks, but it’s very apparent that the main source of their income and their book sales are their school visits.
Not so Justin Somper the author of The Vampirates series. He’s from London and his American book tour included a stop in Houston to hobnob with librarians during the Texas Library Convention. Conventions aren’t my thing which meant I was the only librarian in Houston who could cobble together a school visit on 2 weeks’ notice.
I tossed up a display and a created Flipchart. I prepped, book talked and handed out the tomes. It helped that the books have very, very enticing covers and subject matter and that Justin has an enjoyable and informative web site. The kids enjoyed the books and looked forward to the event.
All the work paid off. Justin’s visit was worth every bit of effort and more. His rapport with the kids was excellent and he had them mesmerized. We sold over 100 books and made some money Blue Willow Books, the local independent bookstore. Owning one of his books became the newest status symbol and having all 4 meant you were at the top of the heap.
I’ve a group of 5th grade books who are devoted fans of the Cirque du Freak books and since there are some similarities in the two series I invited them to eat lunch with the author. I’ve always catered a lunch for visiting authors (have Crockpot, will cook) and included students. One advantage to not having an active PTA is that I can do my author lunches just as I please. At other schools author lunches are the province of the PTA and consist of the PTA Moms and their own offspring.
The menu is always simple – pasta with meat sauce, good French bread, butter, a tossed salad and something chocolate for dessert Every time I do one of these I’m always amazed at what’s novel.
Once year it was the “real forks”. I hate to eat with plasticware so I always bring my stainless from home. Another year it was the homemade salad dressing and the “real” whipped cream. This time it was the crusty French bread and the unsalted butter. The boys ate their way through 4 loaves, each slice slathered with butter.
"This doesn't taste like the butter from the cafeteria Ms. Moore".
I provided table cloths and we helped ourselves to tables not yet picked up from the carnival and set up a large, square banquet table. 15 boys sat round it, ate massive amounts of food, asked respectful, thoughtful and polite questions and brought tears of joy to the eyes of their principal.
Not one descended into horseplay, acted silly or did anything goofy. There were perfect gentlemen and did themselves and their school proud.
It's days like this that I love really, really love my job.