Talking to the 5th Graders

On Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking to a room full of fifth graders. Heather Dean, my close friend on the RTM, is a student teacher at our McKinley Elementary School and helped bring the entire topic of graphic novels into the classroom. When she told her supervising teacher, Mr. Lowry, that I existed, he was excited at the prospect of having an author come talk to the kid.

I modified my History of the Graphic Novel PowerPoint presentation into something scaled for kids, including a hefty section on the creation process. I reviewed a few weeks ago with the 5th grade teachers, got some notes and then awaited the day.

The kids, I was told, were excited at the prospect of my coming so I accompanied Mrs. Dean to collect them from the lunchroom after I arrived. They were excited and polite then filed into the room, seating themselves around the other classroom. Once everyone settled, I was introduced and did my spiel.

Occasionally, a hand flew up with a question but they were on target ones so I answered them and moved on. Once complete, the lights went up and the grilling began. In many cases they were typical 5th grade questions such as my who are my favorite authors or would I want to meet J.K. Rowling. Most indicated they read graphic novels outside the classroom, which was encouraging. I was floored when someone asked about trademark and copyright. This was followed up with quizzing me on the difference between the TM and ® marks. Someone else wanted to know how the selling of the manuscript worked. All in all, they were attentive, and their questions were pertinent, even referring back to some of the examples I was showing.

Also in attendance were the school’s principal and librarian, both of whom seemed satisfied with the presentation.

When it ended, I received enthusiastic applause so I think it went over just fine. It reminded me of how much I enjoy speaking before crowds of all ages and interacting with them. Something to consider for the future.

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