Just got back from doing author presentations at Stasick Elementary. Shared my books with the 3rd through 5th grade crew and then the K through 2nd posse. I used to worry about whether this group or that would like me. But, after 30 years of hangin' with my elementary homies I pretty much just let the session happen and do my best to do my best, enjoying what ever comes. Today, the upper el kids were über excited to see me. Specially the third graders. Oh man, they laughed like crazy when I told jokes, even the dumbs jokes. "You're the funniest author/illustrator we've ever seen, Matt Faulkner!" they howled. They were quiet and thoughtful during the sad part when the monster eats the hero's peas but takes his brand new bike in return. They would lose it when I did wacky stuff, like when I show that goofy picture picture of me in a southern belle dress and my son and his pal in civil war soldiers uniforms that I spent a bajillion dollars on at Six Flags Over Somewhere. I tell you- it was crazy good. They wanted my autograph. They told me I was the coolest thing since sneakers that light up.
The whole gig was, as they say, awesome sauce.
The younger crowd, however, was way tough. An example- At the beginning of my presentation I asked a 1st grader if I could draw her up on the stage in front of everybody. She said "Do I have too? Oh, all right.". I tried to laugh it off and told her to come on up. When she sat down next to the easel she said, "Okay, draw." When I'd finished, she looked at the sketch "So, I guess you're an artist, huh." I asked her if she'd like to take the drawing home she said, "Not really. It doesn't look like me." My lower lip started to quiver. I must've looked pretty sad. She looked at me and said "Oh, all right, I'll take it." I then introduced her to the crowd and thanked her. Big mistake. She did an adorable little pirouette/curtsy thing. Everybody went crazy. They loved her. I couldn't compete. My timing was off. The whole show took a drastic downward spiral. The kid who made the fart noise in the third row got way more laughs than me. Towards the end I distinctly heard one of the kindergartens at my feet murmur "Dude, are you done yet? We're having hot dogs for lunch."
Some presentations are like that.
But you know what? That little girl had great attitude! Think I'll put her in a book.
Just enjoying whatever comes!