by Trudi Trueit
Take one middle grade author from Seattle, Washington, 120 creative students from Gadsden, Alabama, throw in some techno hocus pocus and you’ve got the recipe for a fun, fast-paced virtual author visit!
Susan Wills, Media Specialist at R.A. Mitchell Elementary, was one of our lucky Half ‘n Half contest winners in October. Susan won a half-price virtual visit with the Skype Author of her choice (with 100% of the fee going to Skype Authors 2011-12 charity, CAMFED).
I was honored and excited that Susan selected me for her Skype visit. Projected in the school cafeteria on a movie theater-sized screen (I was enormous!), I told the third and fourth graders about how I fell in love with storytelling when I was their age, and began writing plays. I discussed my career as a TV news reporter and my path to publication, giving the students a sneak peek at my upcoming releases and what I’m working on now. I got to lead the kids in an interactive creative writing exercise, a Q & A session, and a game (complete with prizes sent ahead of time to Mrs. Wills). The Mitchell Elementary library also received a complimentary audiobook of my latest release, Secrets of a Lab Rat: Scab for Treasurer?
I was so impressed with how imaginative and articulate the students were. The fact that I was on the big screen didn’t slow them down a bit. We were able to create and share ideas as if I was right there. Sometimes, it felt as if I was there!
For the kids, I think the highlight of the visit was a surprise appearance by my trusty assistant and calico cat, Bernadette. I’m still not exactly sure what was going on behind me that had the kids howling with laughter, but I suspect a toy mouse may have been involved.
If you are a teacher or librarian, Bernadette and I would love to Skype with your class, too. Fees are listed on the Author Info Page, and you can contact me through my website at www.truditrueit.com. Remember, all Skype Authors pledge to donate 25% of their Skype fees to charity!