The author entered the library amidst the chaos of student broadcast prep and folks setting up kindergarten registration. He insisted I call him by his first name, and we chatted on our way to the cafeteria to set up his presentation.
"Your school is so clean," he said.
"We have a great custodial staff," I replied.
"Your library is wonderful, too."
"It's only eight years old; I inherited a young collection."
"Thank you for getting everything ready; you've done this before!"
"This is only my third year as a librarian, and I flubbed my first author visit...he had to tell me to introduce him! I hope I've gotten a little better since then."
(The children walk in. The author addresses me quietly.)
"It is wonderful to see children of all colors. I come from a very white area. This makes me happy."
I agree; we have a very diverse learning community, and that makes me happy, too.
After the first presentation:
"I'm sorry they were a bit chatty today," I said.
"Oh, no, it's okay; they were talking about the poetry and the books. I didn't mind; they were great!"
"I appreciate you talking a little about your difficulties as a child . Our students just participated in a refugee walk to gain empathy for those fleeing difficult situations."
"My wife worked with refugees," he said, "And I'm glad to hear about this. I'll share a little more with the older group."
After the second presentation:
"That group was wonderful!" the author exclaimed, "So engaged!"
His agent and I agreed.
"You can tell these kids have what they need; they are clean, well fed, well read. It was great to do this presentation with them."
I find out the author worked in the Peace Corps and has traveled quite a bit. He has a broad worldview, kind eyes, and a tender heart for his wife.
It was interesting to see my school through another's eyes, validated for what I notice, what others might overlook and take for granted. The author's visit was a good reminder of what shouldn't be a surprise in any school, anywhere.