Today there was an educator event at Barnes and Noble. I always go to these if it can work with my schedule simply because the discounts are so substantial. Today, I went in time to actually be there for the event, which included a raffle (I won the onyx edition of Monopoly), free stuff (I got the Nancy Pearl action figure!), and a story time.
The story moment was fabulous. A local writer, Suzanne Williams, came and spoke about her writing process, how she discovers her story-fodder, and then proceeded to read a couple of stories. Suzanne Williams had been an elementary librarian in the Kent and Auburn school districts before becoming a children's author, and came ready to tell stories. She was dressed in a princess costume and engaged very clearly with her audience.
The first book Williams read was Mommy Doesn't Know My Name
which was quite cute. She began by explaining how she came up with the concept and what inspired the story: she called her own 3 year old daughter "pumpkin," and her daughter indignantly told her, "My name is not pumpkin; it's Emily!" This inspired her to list all the pet-names she called her children, and then served as the inspiration for this book. She said that when she was a librarian and would read the book to children, she would give seven different children a mask and have them wear it when she got to that part of the book. (The mother in the book calls the daughter seven different names; the daughter, Hannah, imagines herself as each of them.)
Next, she explained about her Princess Power series (and that explained the princess costume!). Williams explained how she wanted to write about adventurous princesses, not ones who just pined away for boys. She talked about how she read a lot of fairy tales to get ready to write the 6-book series and tried to come up with new magical powers for each of the princesses that would correspond to their needs for adventure--a blue lotion that could heal bruises or cuts, a never-empty coin purse, a magical carpet--all of which would come in handy when out adventuring!
Then, she ended the time by reading her book Ten Naughty Little Monkeys. This books is a retelling of the old rhyme, "Ten little monkeys, jumping on the bed..." She retold it so that they do more than just jump on the bed and truly were mischievous. The illustrator for this book was great! Anywho, Williams explained how she used to tell that rhyme to her children while they were growing up and got tired of the monkeys simply jumping on the bed. She wanted them to do something else, and so wrote about it!
In all, this was an interesting performance. She wasn't very lively, but was a bit soft-spoken. Nevertheless, she was entertaining and engaging. Why? Probably because Williams maintained eye contact throughout the entire time. She didn't really read the books, but used them as aids to jog her memory as to what came next. (AFter all, she wrote the books.)