One of the best things about being an author is reading to children. There is an indescribable feeling (even for the most seasoned writer) when you glance up from the page and see the ignition of interest in the eyes of your audience. When your audience is 400 ‘tweenage’ children at a time, this feeling is not only a rush of energy, it drives me to never stop doing what I do…no matter what.
On a recent author visit, I began my hour-long assembly like I always do…by reading from the pages of Saltwater Taffy. After two or three chapters, and sensing when the hook of interest is set, I snap the book shut and begin talking to the kids about the adventure of growing up. You see, Saltwater Taffy gets me in the door, but the real adventure for me is to inspire our children to become confident young men and women.
Growing up in the age of instant news and gossip with Facebook, one can only imagine how tough it is for a tween to find their way. This is why I am here. While it is always inspiring when a teachers says, “Your message of believing in who you are and to never worry about what other people think of you is something our kids really needed to hear,” the main reason I am here is to teach our children the habit of love by moving them away from a habit of fear, doubt and worry.
While feedback from parents and teachers is always nice to hear, I want to share a special moment that that happened while I was one the road. After the mob of autograph seekers (and when I say mob, I do mean mob) I noticed a 5th grade girl hanging back even when the other kids ran off to recess. Sensing she was shy about asking for an autograph, I walked up and asked if she wanted me to sign her Saltwater Taffy bookmark. She held up a signed bookmark and said, “can I have a hug?”
If you want to talk about the ultimate reward for an author, this was it for me. Sure, watching Saltwater Taffy become a best-selling children’s book is cool, the moment with this little girl was one of my most special Saltwater Taffy moments. This is why I do what I do and will continue to do that I do.