On Wednesday evening I visited Benjamin Bubb Elementary in Mountain View, CA and was the speaker at their "Reading Under the Stars" celebration. It was really fun. I drew illustrations on a big white board, read some from my books, and answered lots of good questions from both kids and adults alike. I sold almost every book I brought with me—well over 100 books. It was really fun meeting all the great kids who waited in the line to get thier books signed.
Driving home that night, I was thinking about how much impact an author visit has on kids. I've been told by so many teachers and admininstrators after I've visited a school how much the kids were inspired to create and enthused about writing. You can't put a price on stuff like that.
Hey, nobody ever visited my school when I was a kid...actually we had a guy who made balloon animals and did some card tricks visit once, but that was different. And sort of creepy.
If your child's school has a committee to bring authors to the school, do what you can to support them. If your school doesn't have a program set up for author visits, start one. It really means a lot to the kids—I know; I've seen it in their eyes. Some schools seem to be better at this than others, and they work hard to raise the money it takes to bring an author to a school. And although I run the risk of sounding self-serving, it's a great investment. Kudos to you who bring authors to schools.
You never know how many kids will become more intersted in reading, writing and books in general after an author visit. I can honestly say it sometimes feels like a visiting author can make an impact that will last a lifetime. I could be wrong—but I doubt it.