Friday, April 4, 2014

Visit from Mac Barnett!


That was me, months ago, when I initially contacted Mr. Barnett about him coming to our young authors event.  He agreed to come and I was so excited and really couldn't believe it! Every year, our school hosts a young authors contest where the kids who enter write and illustrate their very own books. These books are then judged by retired teachers that are invited to the school. These teachers then choose the top three winners from every grade level.  When all of that is done, we hold an evening event where we invite an author or an illustrator to speak to the kids and their parents before the kids receive their awards.

Why did I invite Mac Barnett? I had just hosted our school's book fair at the beginning of the school year and I had played the promotional DVD from Scholastic for the kids so that they could get excited about the book fair (they don't really need to watch the DVD to get excited about the book fair :-)). One of the authors on that DVD, stood out from the rest and that was Mac Barnett.  Something that I've learned from booking these illustrators and authors for our young authors event is that not all authors and illustrators are good at presenting to kids even though they write or illustrate for kids, can you believe that? At this event, all the participants, from grades Kindergarten to sixth come with their parents and sometimes their parents bring younger and older siblings.  So as you can see, there is a gamut of ages and attention spans found at this event. As a presenter, you not only have to be a great public speaker but you must also be able to read your audience in order to keep everyone's attention (just a couple years back, we had an illustrator give a presentation and one of our dads actually interrupted her and asked if the kids could get their awards now! YIKES! Tough crowd)

Choosing Mac as our author was easy. I love Mac's books plus he was already on my list of favorite children's book authors but when I saw him on this DVD promoting his book Count the Monkeys I though, "HE WOULD BE PERFECT!"  If you don't believe me, just go to his website and look at the current picture he has put up of himself, (it's a picture of him laughing). He is such a cutie and he looks like he would be so fun to be around.  Or look for him on Youtube. There are plenty of videos of Mac.

I feel extremely lucky that Mac accepted our invitation. I can only imagine just how busy he must be especially since he has several books coming out soon.  So March 21st was the day of our event and I could not wait to meet him. Last year, I read Extra Yard to the kids and they totally loved it. Before Mac came to our school, I shared Battle Bunny with the kids and they loved it also, so I just couldn't wait.

The event was great! Mac's presentation was upbeat, funny, entertaining and engaging.  Evey man, woman and child was laughing and I could tell that everyone was having a great time. Once the ceremony was over, I received so many compliments ranging from, "Where did you find him?' and "He is so funny" and the best one, "He is the best author that I have ever seen at this school!". Needless to say, I strongly recommend Mac Barnett as a speaker at any school function! My principal has already mentioned to me that she would like to have him back to do an assembly for the whole school! I definitely have to say that this experience has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Thanks Mac!!!!!

Mac and Me, March, 2014