11•23•15 – Last week I was invited to Mirman School to read and talk and with two elementary-level classes and also conduct a writing workshop for upper school students. Located up on Mulholland Drive in LA, the school was conducting its annual, week-long Book Fair. My brief time there proved to be one of those experiences I won’t soon forget. The school, its campus, and the people there were amazing.
After getting confirmation that I do not miss San Fernando Valley traffic at all, I truly enjoyed the rest of the morning. In the early sessions, I read from and talked about Rocketboy: The Return of Dr. Megaton with class of students aged 7 to 9. (Mirman doesn’t use traditional grade levels, so there is a greater mix of ages in every class based on interest and ability.) I much prefer the Q&A portion of my talks (vs reading) and the Mirman kids did not disappoint. They were attentive, inquisitive and enthusiastic about writing and fiction in general.
Later in the morning, I waited in a conference room for any upper school students who had signed up (their choice!) to hear about TaleSpins and work on a little twisted fairytale writing of their own.Knowing my class could have been no one, I was more than pleased to ultimately talk with and teach a bit to ten students. I think they enjoyed the conference-table setting usually reserved for teachers, and we had fun reading a little from each TaleSpins story, talking about the creation of 8: The Untold Story graphic novel, then finally diving in to a Frog Prince writing exercise I designed a little while back.
One of my favorite things to tell kids is that in the original Frog Prince, the princess does not kiss the frog. Believe it or not, she actually throws him against the wall! The violent impact is what transforms him back into a prince. (I know, right?) I’ve gotten many reactions from kids, but the Mirman kids’ was unique: They all already knew it! That was a first, to say that least.
For the exercise, the students read a scene from the tale from the King’s point of view and the same scene from the Princess’ point of view. Then they rewrote that same scene from the frog’s point of view. We had just enough time in the session to hear some of their creative work read aloud.
I’m hoping to secure more school visits like this one and also to establish an ongoing business relationship with Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair, the reputable company that handled the event and all sales of my books there.