Sad stories make me cry

I spent a wonderful morning last week at a local school. But! The first group was 5 and 6 year olds.  When I first learned that I’d need to keep this age group entertained for 40 minutes, my first thought was an inarticulate yikes!

Authors of picture books are much better placed with this kind of audience. The visuals of their work keep the kids entertained. I only had two stories I thought might work – one published ages ago in the School Journal about a bad bear, based on a true tale about my great grandfather. I took along a stuffed bear as a visual aid, and that went down all right.

The second story, also true (Stories Aloud CD, Wellington Public Libraries), was about how Chris and I found a stray cat and in the end decided to keep her.  While I read this to the 5 and 6 years olds, I had another yikes! Their chins were trembling. Their eyes were brimming with tears. I had to race to the happy ending before any spillage.  I just made it.

Exciting times in and around Fontania

The Queen and the Nobody Boy has been shortlisted for the 2013 Esther Glen Medal, LIANZA Awards.  The Travelling Restaurant won the medal last year, and it’s too much to expect another win. But I feel it’s amazing for a second in a series to be given this boost.  I’m thanking my lucky stars and lucky planets.

I’m also excited at the number of school visits lined up. Nothing beats seeing how well (or not) children respond to readings from the books.  I’m doing a total of three visits in Wellington before the NZ Post Awards announcement on 24 June, and six from Christchurch, Ashburton and Oamaru to Dunedin.  That will mean  a lot of talking for someone who often talks mainly in her head each day to her characters.

Third exciting thing? The next Tale of Fontania is at a stage where it will help to read a draft aloud. This will very definitely not be to any audience yet but it’s a good sign.