This past Thursday, I had a really awesome opportunity to meet some really awesome kids from Set Apart in Henry County, Indiana. I’ve shared in a past blog post about Set Apart, who they are and how I learned about them, you can click HERE to read about that!
Before I talk about Thursday. Here’s some backstory to fill in some gaps between August and Thursday. The kids at Set Apart have been reading Super Penguin as part of their class and are about halfway through it. A few weeks ago, Heather, Set Apart‘s Director sent me a message if we could do a Zoom call with the kids, and talk about the book and about being an author. I jumped all over the opportunity.
The kids I spoke with are 1st and 2nd graders. They asked me some really great questions about the book and about being an author. We talked about their favorite super heroes and “If they could have any super power, what would it be?” and then took a picture together.
I really wanted to make this meeting happen for several reasons. I’ve been very blessed to hear encouraging words from people throughout my life from conversations with mentors, at school assemblies, audio books, banquets and even Tik Toks and Facebook videos. I’m also a big believer in paying things forward. Because I’ve been the recipient of these encouraging words, I feel I’m responsible to share them and some of my own.
(Note: I’ve struggled typing this next paragraph over and over again in an attempt to make it sound not-vain, it’s just something that excites me. So please read it in a not-vain way haha!) Also I still can’t get over the fact that I have fans, and that I have opportunities to meet them and talk with them about something I made. Many of you already know how much I enjoy meeting people that create the things I love and enjoy, so to sit in the seat of the creator and talk to fans of my thing, felt really, really cool.
There was also something that I learned, that I wasn’t expecting.
Everything we do has a ripple effect. Sometimes we don’t get to see the effects, sometimes we see pieces but we’ll never see the whole thing because the rippling never stops. When I wrote Super Penguin, I made it a point that I wasn’t going to talk down to or dumb down the vocabulary for kids. It wasn’t any kind of righteous decision, if anything it was kind of selfish. Writing a dumbed down story wouldn’t have been fun for me, so I used the vocabulary that I wanted to use. I figured if a kid read a word they didn’t know, they’d figure it out with context clues, or ask a parent/teacher/older kid to explain it. (I also don’t even know if I could dumb down the vocabulary without making it sound like a caveman wrote it!). In the zoom meeting, Miss Heather shared that she appreciated that I didn’t dumb it down, because as an educator for these kids, it’s provided an opportunity to work on learning new vocabulary. When I wrote Super Penguin, I had absolutely no intention of it being used in any kind of educational way. If anything, my only hopes were that people were entertained and if they weren’t, they wouldn’t ask for a refund on the book. But that wasn’t God’s plan. He took my book, scheduled a divine appointment last August and now some really cool things are happening.
I’m looking forward to our next zoom call when the kids finish the book and we can talk about the ending and Super Penguin 2!
There’s also some other events coming up that I’m very excited about! Aside from the conventions and book selling events, on November 17 I’ll be at my hometown’s Danville Public Library for Family Reading Night! And later this month, or early December, I have some things set up with a local school and talking to more kids about the book! More on that in a future blog post!
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