3652 Days is Hard to Believe!
Ten years is a long time … whether you’re creating a set of children’s books, raising a child, or even making a movie … that 3652 days represents a stretch of time we can all respect!
It’s been ten years since my first speaking engagement at Central College Magnet School in central Ohio! One day a good friend asked if I had ever talked about my book in schools before and when I said no, she asked me to consider it.
Now I’ve done my fair share of book signings and tv appearances on local networks, but speaking directly to school children? That was something entirely new to consider, and at first blush I was very nervous about the idea!
A Different Kind of Education … for Me!
After a lot of thought I decided it could be fun, but how should I present myself to the kids? As a seasoned professional with a budding know-how about self-publishing? Nahhhh! That would be boring, so I decided to play to my strengths and talk to the kids on their level … a level about discovery and fun! About taking an idea and developing a story and drawings, that could ultimately help animals! And with that notion in mind, I decided not to charge a speaker’s fee, but ask the kids for donations that would benefit local animal shelters!
I put together a rough outline of what topics I needed to cover, some copies of my first book, There’s A Crazy Dog Under the Palace, and pages of original pencil drawings from the book. I was nervous at first, but soon realized how much the kids loved my presentation when their hands shot up in the air to ask questions!
I quickly found the questions from these kids (and from the next sixteen presentations to follow over 4-5 years) would astound and challenge me, and help me to think on a different level about my readers! And as time went on the kids began freely sharing their creative ideas with me, several of which would materialize in my second book of the series, Who Ate the Gelato?!
A Truly Satisfying Experience!
In the end, I realized how much I truly enjoyed talking to hundreds of elementary school kids, and doing my best to educate them about helping animals and hopefully making the world a better place for us all! Some of the kids I spoke to began volunteering their time at local animal shelters, while several others began writing their own stories and developed drawings of their own! And the multitude of children I spoke to over the years donated enough toys, food, blankets and other necessities, that my wife and I became regular visitors to several animal shelters that gladly accepted everything we brought with a smile!
Since my first speaking gig those many years ago, I’ve achieved my goal of writing and illustrating a series of 3 children’s books in English and translated into Italian versions, as well as illustrating two other books for authors.
Would I ever consider school presentations again? That’s always a possibility, and only time will tell!