Sunday, April 29, 2012

April Is for Authors

Greetings from West Palm Beach, Florida, where I'm spending a delightful four days at an event called April Is for Authors.  Twenty-three authors are here, many of us nominees this year for the Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award, as well as a number of local Florida authors.  The event itself took place yesterday at Palm Beach Gardens High School.  Each author gave at least one talk and took part on at least two panels, as well as signing heaps of books in the media center.  Attendees included children and their parents, teachers, librarians, aspiring writers, anybody who has an interest in children's books and the people who write them.  In addition, some of us are doing author visits to Palm Beach County schools.  I spent Friday at Heritage Elementary; Monday I'll be at Morikami Park; today I'm just catching my breath at the lovely Embassy Suites Hotel, with its pair of swans swimming about in little pond in the the four-story atrium.

The book of mine that is on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award list is How Oliver Olson Changed the World.  As I told the children on Friday when I visited Heritage, I got the idea for the book when I visited an elementary school in Colorado.  Prowling the hallways for book ideas (as I do assiduously these days, now that my own children, at ages 20 and 23, are no longer providing me story fodder, or at least no longer providing me fodder for children's chapter books), I came upon a display of student work: their ideas for how they would change the world.  And so the book was born.

Two classes at Heritage Elementary on Friday presented me with their own written and illustrated ideas for how they would change the world.  Here are some of my favorites (spelling corrected!):

We can donate toys, money, shoes, clothes, to poor children.

My world changing idea is to only have police and the army to have weapons.  Because they use them to kill people and it's not fair, people have to lose their lives for no reason.

My life-changing idea is to supply real homes for the homeless.

We should have more time for recess.  (Great picture of empty slide and climbing bars.)

Stop putting chemicals in food.

Get a robot to do your homework.

My world changing idea is to make paper out of something else to save the trees.

My world changing idea is stop throwing thrash into the ocean or the animals will die.

My world changing idea is nobody should bully people.

My world changing idea is helping collecting money to help buy things we need for the Earth.

Pick up your trash at the beach.  (Great picture with GOOD and BAD behavior displayed.)

My idea is No Killing Whales!

My world changing idea is everyone should get a chance to do something they want to do even if their parents won't let you.

I think people should use their turn signals when they're supposed to because they could get in a car accident.

I think kids should not have work to do on summer, spring, and winter break.

Excellent ideas, Heritage Elementary!  Grownups of the world, are you listening?

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