“Is it lonely to be a writer?” “What is the greatest and worst thing about being a writer?” “I loved your book because the brother in it is mean to his sister and my brother is mean to me.” “What if reading is really, really hard for you – can you still be a writer?” “My grandma used to read to me but she died.”
And, as the others file out, the solemn child who stands before me and whispers: “I’m the new kid.”
When I first began writing, I wrote only novels for adults. I couldn’t have imagined that my life would someday include visits to schools where hour by hour, first and second and third and fourth graders sit in criss-cross-applesauce rows on the carpeted library floor, listening. Watching. Thinking.
Why do I do so few school visits? Because kids. Their questions go straight into your heart, and then you carry them around with you forever. We bring kids into this fraught world and they have no idea what awaits them. But there they are, like the child in this poem below, by the brilliant Ed Bok Lee, turning their faces skyward.