Not sure when I discovered Jessica Day George but I have loved her books for years. I love fairy tales and I especially love to see new versions of tales I love. I think I stared reading Jessica Day George with her book, Dragon Slippers. A few years ago, my younger daughter and I were hooked on her middle school princess series (Princess of the Midnight Ball, Princess of Glass). And of course, I loved Tuesdays at the Castle when I read it a few years ago. I love every book she's written.
Jessica Day George doesn't know it, but she is one of my favorite people to follow on Goodreads. We seem to have the exact same taste in books. And why wouldn't we--she writes the books I love to read. She is my go-to person when it comes to adult fiction. If Jessica gives a novel a 5 star rating, it is one I definitely check out.
Jessica is touring because her new book, Thursdays With the Crown has just been published. This is the 3rd book in the Tuesdays at the Castle series). Tuesdays at the Castle was the well loved by students in grades 3, 4, and 5. Most classrooms shared the book as a read aloud. I worried early on that it would be too hard for my 3rd graders but I was wrong. We had to do a lot of thinking and talking early in the book. Before we began, we thought about fairy tales we knew and created a chart listing Things We Could Expect, knowing it was a fairy tale. We listened to the audio version of the book as I wanted my kids to have the experience of an audiobook. The audio is fabulous and the kids really enjoyed the book. They talk about Celie sometimes like she is a member of our classroom.
There is nothing like having an author that kids connect with visit a school. After the excitement of getting books autographed wore off (it is still not quite worn off), I listened in on what it was that Jessica Day George told them that stuck. What would stay with them about her visit? First of all, they loved her--there was lots of laughing and humor in her talk and I think kids liked knowing that this author they loved was a real person, someone they liked a lot. She shared the book that changed her and that inspired her to be a writer. She was also very honest about her rejections and let kids know that she didn't get her books published until she wrote what she loved to write. She talked to kids about the process of revision. The story of her writing life is a powerful one and she shared it in a way that made sense to young children.
Jessica Day George is definitely a rock star at Indian Run Elementary. Her visit was a day that I think most kids will remember for a very long time. A definite highlight of the year for the kids. And for me, what a great day to be able to meet one of my favorite authors with my students!