Okay so I am in the middle of taking a big risk, but it's too late to talk me out of it. I've already started it.
I am reading my own book aloud to my class.
And no, I am not talking about one of the GOOD KNIGHT books. I read those to kids all the time. No, I am talking about that longish book I wrote: THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET. gulp.
See, most authors of middle grade fiction never get the chance to read the whole book to children, except for maybe their own. And I thought that I should give it a try, kind of like an experiment. But to tell you the truth, I was kind of terrified to start.
What if they don't get it?
What if they are bored by it?
What if they don't LIKE it?
The truth is, any kid might feel one of these things about ANY book, because readers come in all shapes and sizes. One size of books does not fit all. I KNOW this as a teacher. Most of the class adored CHARLOTTE'S WEB, but there were a few who just kind of liked it, moderately tolerated it, or zoned out. And I am talking less than a handful here, but still...kids are entitled to their opinions, too. If I want them to grow up and love books, I need to let them choose for themselves what they like. Right?
So, I pondered my beliefs--what would I do if kids didn't like it?
Hard question, because I know that they want to like it. I am their teacher, after all. And third grade is a magic sort of year. Think back on your own third grade experience--you either loved it or you hated it, (depending on your relationship with your teacher maybe.) (I hated mine, but that's because I was taught by a crusty old bat who seemed to hate kids, but that is neither here nor there:)
Anyway, was I brave enough to let them be discriminating readers with a book that is so close to my heart that it fairly pumps when I hold it?
Yes, I decided, I was. For what is courage but knowing what you have to lose and risking it anyway.
So, after we finished the first story in the book, The Gypsies and the Seer, we had a discussion about what it might be like to see the future, if lying could ever really be justified, and what being really alone felt like. It was a good book chat--peppered with frequently with a certain question that just keeps coming up over and over again: Mrs. Thomas, is Trinket ever going to find her dad?
Good question, I tell them, that is just what the reader is supposed to be asking.
So far, so good.