Date: 9 February 2013
Books Completed: 27
Books Left: 173
Let’s face it, most of us have a thing for celebrities. And while I swoon over George Clooney and marvel at the genius of Meryl Streep, my biggest kicks come from author experiences. I sat next to Katherine Paterson once, attended a great lecture by Gail Carson Levine, and met Mo Willems and his daughter Trixie. Heady experiences, all, but they pale next to an event I attended last Sunday—and no, I don’t mean the Super Bowl.
Some fifth grade girls at my school have formed a mother-daughter book club, inspired by the series of the same name by Heather Vogel Frederick. One of these enterprising young ladies emailed the author, seeing as the first book in the series was the one they were reading for their club, and asked if she would come. Ms. Frederick graciously responded that she could not come in person, but she could Skype the meeting. In the course of telling me about the upcoming event, another one of the girls invited me to join. I jumped at the opportunity.
I’m not sure who was more excited as the day drew nearer—the girls or myself. Sometimes the delights of anticipation outweigh the joys of the actual event, but not in this case for me. The great day arrived, we got our questions ready, and we fired up the tablet. When we connected with Ms. Frederick, she seemed genuinely interested in the girls, and let them choose the format for the session. They wanted to let her start off talking and she did.
Not surprisingly, she was a great storyteller. She told a little bit about her childhood as it related to becoming an author, as well as about her college years and beyond. She talked about rejection letters, working with editors, and where the idea for the series came from. As she talked, she included the girls every now and then so it didn’t seem like a lecture. Then the girls (and I) asked our questions. When it was my turn, I found that the answer to one question led me to think of and ask some others. I think I ended up spending the most time actually chatting with her, but the girls didn’t seem to mind. After a few minutes I said I didn’t want to be a hog and turned it back over to the girls for an additional question or two. Then we all thanked each other and signed off.
Heather Vogel Frederick was warm, friendly, at ease talking with the girls, and altogether delightful. She gave us her time and her experiences—for free! What authors do that in this day and age? I was an admirer of her books before, and now I can admire her as a person as well.
I stayed and chatted with the moms for a bit after and we all seemed to have the same impressions of the experience. It wasn’t until I had almost reached home (a good 40 minutes or so after we signed off) that I realized my face hurt—from the smile I’d been wearing for over an hour. That face-ache was a great, though fleeting, souvenir of a truly awesome experience.
Thanks again to HD for having the imagination and confidence for thinking this up and following through with the idea, to JM for inviting me (and introducing me to the books in the first place), and to all the mothers and daughters of the Luxmanor Mother-Daughter Book Club for making me feel so welcome. I will treasure the experience always!