Today I did one of my favorite author things–I spoke to 240 kids at the Career Tech Summer Academy. I spoke for half an hour to students ranging from 4th to 6th graders, telling them about me, my books, and being an author. Then I answered questions.
Any teacher knows that when you open up the possibility of questions, the sky’s the limit. Some questions were related to the topic. They asked why I chose horses to write about and wanted to know the name of one of the flying horses in my books. They asked what books I liked to read, and what I was currently working on. The kids were quite naturally curious about me, too. They asked how old I was and if I had any pets, and they wanted to know if I’d read Hunger Games and Harry Potter. I love that they were interested in me as a person!
Then one of the boys asked me when I was coming out with the next Minecraft handbook. You never laugh at a question. Sometimes they ask the offbeat ones on purpose to see your reaction. Sometimes they really do think you will give them an answer. I smiled and explained I couldn’t write a handbook until I got a lot better at Minecraft. He laughed and ran off with his friends. Wonderful creativity! He probably should write his own book!
Adults are good at asking relevant questions. I’m sure they have all sorts of questions that are inappropriate or off-task, but they understand what can be asked and what shouldn’t be. You can teach children to ask good content-related questions that show they are listening and thinking about what is being said, but children have no filter. If they wonder it, they ask it. It’s impossible to be offended. When I told them I didn’t mind them asking how old I was since it was my birthday a few days ago, they wished me a happy birthday.
A half an hour presentation goes very quickly. That made me sad because I really wanted to answer more of their questions!