As an author I’ve had some much-appreciated gifts from my audience: A good review, an autograph asked for, a question about the next book I’m going to write. But none of these tops the gift I received from the 75 kids in grades K to 5 at Kinistino School on the first day of Education Week, October 18, 2010.
What was it?
A simple spontaneous round of roaring applause that grew, like the amazing kerchief a magician pulls and pulls and pulls out of his sleeve, when I closed the novel I was reading from and looked up.
It was, indeed, an excellent day, starting with the high school students at 10 a.m. They accompanied me through a tour of Saskatchewan with the new book, L is for Land of Living Skies, then on a spin around the world as I told them about my journeys as a photojournalist. The middle years students were next, spending the next hour before lunch with me on much the same tour as the older group.
Shortly after 1 p.m., just in from the sunshine of a perfect fall day, the younger crowd were full of enthusiasm as we explored Saskatchewan, letter by letter. It was, however, the novel, Pictures, about young Sam’s adventures at nearby Waskesiu that captured their imaginations.
In years of school visits, I’ve never had a better audience!
From Kinistino, it was back to Prince Albert to spend the night, then move on to Shellbrook for Tuesday.