Jacqueline West School Visit

Eduprize Gilbert Visiting Author Committee with Jacqueline West. – Susan Schade, Jacqueline West, Tanja Bauerle and Pamela Alara

Last week was Jacqueline West day at my girls’ elementary school. Oh, and what a day it was! I am head of the Visiting Author Committee at my girls’ elementary school and we have been working diligently with Changing Hands Bookstore to bring authors in to speak with and inspire the students.

Jacqueline West getting the kids fired up with a quick quiz.

Jacqueline West is the author of the ever-popular “Books of Elsewhere” middle grade series.  The kids simply gobble up her books and our fifth graders were the lucky ones that got to see Jacqueline’s presentation.  What a treat it was to learn about where the inspiration came from that drove Jacqueline to create the story! The kids were amazed when they heard that it took more than eight years to write the first book.

Listening to an author’s story and meeting them in person is so significant for the students. It is important to see that successful authors are not simply mysterious figments from faraway lands but regular people that work hard to make their vision a reality. I loved how Jacqueline talked about the editing and revision process which is such a huge part of the development of a book. What a great message for the kids to hear! It also made the teachers very happy.

It was a truly successful visit that left everyone excited and inspired. Here are some interesting tidbits that we learned from Ms. West:

  • The amazing illustrator Poly Bernatene, who illustrated the “Book of Elsewhere”series, will actually paint the chapter illustrations in color first.
  • When talking about the publishing process and the issue of rejection, we learned that the first “Harry Potter”book received 12 rejections, “The Princess Diaries” received 17 rejections and the Newberry winner “A Wrinkle in Time” received 26 rejections before the got a yes from a publisher.
  • The chapter three slump. It appears when writing, “chapter three” of a book tends to be the big hurdle that Ms. West encounters. It is frequently seems to be the point when writer’s block rears its head.

Autograph Time

I could go on, but I think that you really should have Jacqueline West come to your school to get to full impact of her program. You and your school will not regret it! Also, the kiddos were too eager to have Jacqueline sign anything and everything in sight.

Check back to see who our next visiting author is. Let me just say, I’m tickled beyond belief about our next visitor.

Stay tuned and happy creating to you all.