Yesterday I got to spend a day with a writer, and not just any writer…Nora Raleigh Baskin. She is kind and generous. She is smart and funny. She made yesterday a day we will all remember for a long time.
I picked her up at her hotel in the morning. We chatted for the entire ride to school. She’s so easy to talk to and we have so much to share. At school, things get set up. The technology magically works and kids begin arriving. I could feel the excitement. So many people stopped and listened to her talk, but the sixth graders were so excited. (I’ll get reactions today in class.)
She talked about how she got the idea for the book, what it was like writing about an event like 9/11, and how it was like writing four books in one. Throughout her talk, she engaged the students and asked them questions. She talked about how books are windows and mirrors to the reader. She talked about the hard work of writing and revising and research.
During lunch, she asked the teachers for feedback on her presentations. What do you think? How is it going? Nora is a great listener. When she listens you feel like the most important person in the world.
She signed book after book after book. She took her time and really talked to the students as she signed. One student told her his idea about a book. Another student shared the research she did about Nora. Nora listened intently and her face lit up when the kids shared these things with her.
She graciously posed for pictures. She talked about how she became a writer. In sixth grade, her teacher read her story to the class. He said it was the best one. In that moment, she decided to be a writer. One student asked for advice to young writers and her answer was, “Write your truth. Write from the heart.”
I’m rereading this post and it’s like a book report of the day, but I don’t want to forget a moment. Here are some of the things she said,
“Writing healed me.”
“Writing is magical.”
“I use a new notebook and a new pen when I start a new book.”
“Words are very important to me.”
On a personal level, Nora is a new friend. A day like yesterday is a dream come true. I’m grateful to Nora for her precious time. I’m grateful for everyone who helped pull this together. I can’t wait to hear what the students think!