Last Wednesday I had the most fulfilling and fun book event yet. I’ll be hard pressed to have an event that tops this one that’s for sure! Last week was Read Across America Week throughout our public school. In celebration, our elementary school invited local authors and local celebs to come into the school and share a literacy activity with the kids. I was invited to a second grade classroom to talk about the writing process and writing a book. My boys were bummed that I did not go to their classroom and were further bummed that they could not go back to their old second grade classroom either. Actually, I was in the old classroom that just one of my twins was in. You see, the twins decided to detach from each other after the first grade, but that’s an entirely different story…
So any way, the lovely second grade teacher asked me to come into the class when my book was finished and published - WOOT it was, it is and I did!
I was a bit worried about talking to the class because really, how fun can baby food be to second graders? I enlisted the suggestions of the super fans that are on the WBF Facebook page and let me tell you, I was blown away by all the amazing ideas and suggestions. I believe I used every single suggestion in one way or another. The two highlights of the hour that I spent with the kids were the poop talk and the food processor!
The night before I baked 6 apples and roasted a bunch of carrots and I brought along the baked apples, roasted carrots and my huge Cuisinart, complete with copies of both recipes for the kids to take home. I made a huge recipe sheet from poster boards complete with rip off instructions to mix up. This was used to demonstrate the importance of making sure directions were written completely and correctly. They all knew what would happen when I took away the instructions to “preheat the oven” and laughed when I removed the instructions to “place the apples into a baking dish”. I also created a large easel sized outline of how I wrote the book and we had fun wondering what would happen if we mixed up the different chapters and put the introduction at the end of the book. They were amazed when I passed out the marked-up/edited manuscript to show them what copy editors do.
The kids LOVED to see the manuscript papers with all of the markings and corrections that the copy editor made. One of the tables of kids had the “poop” page. On this particular page, I was writing about the different colors of poop and what those colors might mean. Of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about using the word “poop” and why I chose that word. We came up with all sorts of words for poop and luckily, no one said the curse word! These kiddos were obviously not on the same bus as my kiddos were - I recall that word being one of the words my kids were taught on the bus. Oh how proud they were to see they had shocked the heck out of Mommy that day. In the end, the second graders agreed that it sounded better to say “poop” than it did to say bowel movement. “Poop” didn’t sound as doctor-like or scary as bowel movement did.
The kids had fun taking turns using the food processor and turning the apples and carrots into baby food. It was great when a few of them said that the apple baby food tasted just like applesauce. I explained to them that baby food was the same as their food only mashed up or pureed. They really enjoyed the fact that even adults have to have their writing corrected. The writing process is never easy or perfect for anyone and even adults need to be told to go back and do things differently. I think the kids could have expressed a little less joy over the corrections and comments however.
It was a GREAT day!