Author School Visit: Hickory Flat Elementary School

My book tour in Georgia took me to many wonderful places and spaces, including a sweet little town called McDonough, Georgia. I have never experienced the charm of this town and felt so blessed to enjoy its beauty for a short time.

Hickory Flat Elementary School welcomed me with open arms, literally, such a loving and wonderful group of kids and teachers. It was quite a full day with six 30 minute presentations, all before 1pm! I knew a day like this would either make me or break me.

And guess what?

It totally made me.

I left the school feeling extremely high on life and in love with my job as a children’s author.

The very first comment from a student had me chuckling. A little girl walked by and said, “Are you the author? Wow, you’re pretty!” I said thank you and she followed up with, “Well, most authors I know are really old and wrinkly.” So there you have it, I was feeling young and accomplished. 😉

I have two different presentations, one for K-2 and one for 3-5. I don’t read the book to the 3-5 group, but honestly, at the end of each presentation I can see it in their eyes that they want me to read the book. If only we had enough time!!

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My favorite part of each presentation is when I showcase my rejection letters. What I love about the above picture is how intently the students are reading each letter, they were filled with interest. And when I later showed them my two acceptance letters, someone asked me to read one out loud. So, I did and once I was done, the crowd was roaring with cheers, yelps and clapping. Ahh, I got goose bumps. The teachers got goose bumps. I had gotten through to these kids and it was showing in big ways!

One of my most memorable moments with the first grade group was the idea of using your imagination. In Kindergarten the students are learning how to write from their own non-fiction personal experiences and in first grade they begin dabbling into fiction. After I read the book, one little boy raised his hand and said, “But the elephant can’t really come back to bed with you!” And it was the perfect transition into us talking about fiction.

I asked the group to share with me a personal experience from the day. I took that personal experience and added an element of fiction. They laughed and shook their heads in understanding. I explained to them that we all have dreams, but I added a bit of fiction by bringing an element from the dream world back to bed. IMG_6294

I did all of the fancy author things like hugging the students, chatting with teachers and signing books. I was so taken back by the praise I received from the teachers, as they seemed genuinely impressed by the presentations. My goal is to meet the needs of the students and the teachers, I want the teachers to feel like they have talking points to share with their students after the presentations.

Media Consultant, Kristy Sullivan, had a great review of the day and has already invited me back.

“We enjoyed our author visit with Jacqueline Leigh so very much. She spoke with students from 1st to 5th grade and had wonderful presentations that were age appropriate and entertaining. Teachers could not stop raving and speaking highly of the quality and content of the presentation as well as Jacqueline’s ability to maintain student attention. All of our students were so intrigued by the lessons she taught them about perseverance and using our mistakes to make us better individuals. Her love for her work was apparent and I believe will encourage students to follow their dreams and work towards achieving their goals. We can’t wait for our next visit with Jacqueline!”

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