Schuh read a passage from THE TRAZ School Edition, the first book her gritty BackTracker series, to the older students and left some copies behind as a gift to the school.
Today she answers our questions about the highs and lows of that full-day visit.
Q: What was the most worrisome part of the day?
The school’s location wasn’t on google maps and I was scared I wouldn’t be able to find my way. Nobody could tell me if there was cell phone coverage in that area, either. I needn’t have worried; I found it okay. However, I mistakenly arrived a half-hour late. Once that was all behind me, my nerves settled and all went well.
Q: What was the intent of your visit and did you achieve it?
I discussed the role of my visit with the school beforehand and we settled on the general top of promoting literacy. As well, the school asked me to do readings as part of my presentation. My intent was to inspire all age groups to become enamored with reading and writing and chose literacy as a life-long hobby. As well, I wanted the older students to consider the possibility of a career in one of the writing-related professions. Did I achieve that? I’ve been told I will receive copies of the evaluations the teachers did of my presentations but I haven’t got them yet. From my point of view, I believe I was able to communicate my love of books to the students. When the high school students started sneaking copies of my books from the display and reading them as I was presenting—that, to me was the ultimate in success. If reading my book is more interesting than listening to me, I’ve done my job. I must admit, though, the teachers weren’t as impressed with the student’s behaviour!
Q: What was your most memorable interaction with a student?
During my break, a girl about nine-years old came into the lunch room with her teacher to show me the book she had written. The teacher had stapled it together for her. She had written it like a graphic novel, or a comic book (for those of us of my generation). It was about a girl who was upset because she thought her friends were bullying her. It ended up they were actually planning a surprise birthday party for her. I was blown away by the characters and the plot. The student felt so proud showing it to me. I was honored.
Q: An entire day of presenting to such a vast range of ages must have been both challenging to prepare for and to carry off. Would you do it again?
I have done many presentations over the years, to all age groups and in a variety of venues, so preparation wasn’t too time consuming. Once the school and I agreed on the focus of my visit (promoting literacy) and I chose my readings, the rest fell into place. The presenting was a bit more challenging, I’m just not as young as I used to be. My feet were very tired by day’s end and my voice, hoarse. I had great interaction with the students and staff, though. Time flies when conversations and questions take over. Yes, I’d definitely do it again, at the Kehewin school, or any other that invites me.
THE TRAZ also comes in a regular edition. All Schuh’s books are available both as eBooks and paperbacks on Amazon and other fine online book sellers. If they are not on the shelves of your local library or bookstore, you can ask to have them ordered in.
Schuh invites you to connect with her online:
Schuh would like to thank the WISP (Writers in Schools Program), for sponsoring her school visit. WISP is administered by the Canadian Authors Association Alberta Branch. She also thanks the Kehewin Community Education Center for matching the WISP speaker fee to ensure she could present to all four grade groups.