This Wednesday, March 28th, authors Jon and Pamela Voelkel will be speaking and signing at The King’s English in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m. More info here about the event.
I met Jon and Pamela last year at the Oxford Conference for the Book, where they were presenting to an auditorium of 5th graders and I was presenting to the 9th graders. My presentation came after theirs, and so I got to sit in on it and watch. All of my interactions with them had been so lovely, and they were clearly fantastic authors and truly wonderful people, so I had high expectations for the presentation.
I have NEVER seen anything like what the Voelkels do for a school assembly.
The kids were screaming, laughing, interested, playing air guitar, every face lit up with joy. Jon and Pamela had hundreds of fifth graders eating out of their hands, hanging on every word, believing in the power of literature to take you places.
I found myself sitting there shaking a little and crying as I watched it all unfold. Lest this make me sound crazy (and it probably does), I have to give a little background. While I was thrilled (and extremely honored) to be in Mississippi at the conference, there was also a LOT going on at home. Sometimes being a parent is hard, you guys. And sometimes it’s the hardest when you have to trust others to do for your children what you cannot do yourself (I’m a good mom, and I work hard at it, but I am not a doctor, nor an elementary school teacher, etc., etc.) and it aches sometimes.
As I watched the Voelkels, and what they were doing for those kids, I felt a sense of gratitude and relief that there are people like Jon and Pamela in the world. They are children’s book authors in the true sense–people who better the writing community with their books and with their outreach.
I know the Voelkels can’t do their entire school presentation at a book signing, but they will be speaking a bit and signing your book with Mayan glyphs, so if you can make it to The King’s English, you are in for a treat. And if you can’t, you can still read their books and enjoy their amazing website.
Thank you, Jon and Pamela, for writing books my kids LOVE to read, and for spreading the message that reading can take you to some extraordinary places.