Back in September I was beyond thrilled when another Media Specialist in my county sent an email out telling us that she was hosting Henry Cole on March 1st and wanted to know if anyone else was interested in joining on to his visit. After talking to my principal and the school PTA, I let her know that we wanted him to come to my school.
Little did I know than, how much work went into a school visit by an author/illustrator! I've seen many authors/illustrators speak at conference and even at school, but I was always a observer, not the person in charge. It is a WHOLE different ballgame when you are in charge of the visit!!
It doesn't help that I'm a Type-A personality, but I had to have everything spelled out and organized. I made sure it was so organized that if I had to be gone, the visit would run smoothly. (Little did I know, I would have to miss part of his visit.)
I sold his books ahead of time. I think ordering the books was the hardest part of the whole visit. In order to order the books, we had to jump through many hoops. If I had known how many hoops we would have to jump through, I would have started the whole process a little bit earlier than I did. The other lesson I learned about ordering books, make sure to order extra books. Many of my teachers who didn't order when we did the pre-sale, wanted books after hearing him speak.
If you have not had the opportunity to see Henry Cole speak, you are missing out! He is a dynamic speaker who engages children of all ages and adults as well. His stories will make you laugh out loud, no matter what your age. Henry Cole also inspires the children to be readers, writers, and illustrators. I really loved two things that he told all the children. The first was he always carries paper and pencils with him, that way he can work wherever his is. The other thing that I loved was when he was explaining to the students how many times he had to draw an illustration or rewrite a book before he got it correct. It really made an impression that even a great author/illustrator had to do things over and over and over again before he was satisfied.
Henry Cole's visit was an huge success! The kids had a wonderful time. The teachers/staff enjoyed his stories. They all are still talking about his visit. He got the highest compliment from one of my Second Grade classes, they said that his visit was worth missing PE!
On a personal note, I was so thankful how understanding Henry Cole was because I had to leave in the middle of his visit. I had to attend a funeral of a dear family friend. She was like a second mother to me. I felt I needed to be there for her family. That is why I'm wearing red in this picture; it was her signature color.