I wrote my first book when I was 8 years old. It was called Tubby the Pig on the Moon. The 20-page story, created painstakingly on a manual typewriter, told the tale of a talking pig and his barnyard friends who built a rocket ship and flew to the moon. It wasn’t the type of story that got published, but it showed even then that I was dreaming of being a writer.
I love to tell that story when doing school visits, and then I read my poem “The Keeper of Dreams” from my Mommy Poems book. The poem talks about what we might dream of being when we grow up (and sharing those dreams with Mom). I tell students how I made my dreams come true through practice and persistence, and I encourage them to dream big and to follow those dreams—wherever they may lead.
Back in the “good old days” before the pandemic, my school visits were live, and they were often done in the form of writing workshops. In these workshops, I would get elementary students writing poetry, persuasive pieces, or research-oriented nonfiction. It’s fun to watch students get excited about writing and see the pride they take in their creations. That worked well in person where I could circulate throughout the classroom as students wrote, offering suggestions and support as needed. Then students eagerly shared their work at the end.
This past fall and winter I started doing Zoom visits. In this format, I’ve discussed the different genres of writing I do. I share cool stories from my biography books, fun facts from 125 True Stories of Amazing Pets, and poems from my Beach Fun and Daddy Poems books. I describe how I got the ideas for my picture books One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me! and Raindrops to Rainbow, and I outline the publishing process.
Next I share tips for young writers, do a fun facts quiz about writing, and answer questions. Sharing a PowerPoint via Zoom isn’t as much fun as presenting in a classroom, and seeing thumbnails of students’ faces isn’t nearly as rewarding as seeing them in person, but it’s part of the adaptation process all of us have faced during the pandemic.
I look forward to the time when in-person school visits are once again possible, but in the meantime, Zooming my way into classrooms is a reasonable substitute! To learn about scheduling a Zoom visit, check out my website at www.JohnMicklosWriter.com and click on the “Services” button or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.