Seventeen lively school children joined my April 16th workshop at the Curious Cup Bookstore. Happily, all went smoothly. I showed them how to make accordion books. Then they wrote stories in their newly folded creations. These delightful children, ages seven through eleven, were fresh out of school and consequently a bit restless. Some of the mothers stayed and were very helpful, especially at pizza-snack time.
During the workshop, most of the children were busy and happy folding their books and working on writing stories, although some of the younger ones needed help with the folding. Several children were very talented, including one creative, little boy who wanted to draw a cartoon rather than write a story. He folded his accordion book to run vertically rather than horizontally, and he had a unique idea about how to tie up his book with ribbon. Another girl, a good artist, drew a beautiful fairy house to illustrate her story. One boy wanted only to fold books and not write a story, which was OK with me. He ended up with a great pile of folded paper. At the end, a brave little girl asked to read her story to the group. We all clapped afterwards.
Pizza was served halfway through the 90-minute session. While the children ate their snack, I talked about where story ideas come from and how to write stories. Learning from this experience, I think next time I will engage them more in conversation and maybe have them develop a group story. They did look at the books I passed out after wiping their greasy hands (I’m glad I had napkins and paper plates). Some of these books were my own published stories and others were books that young children had either written or illustrated. I left the books on the table for reference, and it was interesting to see which ones fascinated them.
At the end, I passed out an instruction sheet for them to take home, along with a brochure of my Oak Tree Press Books and my card. In addition, I gave the parents a sheet I developed about how to published their children’s stories online. As I gave the mothers this sheets, I explained how excited my granddaughter was when I published two of her books when she was ages four and seven. One mother later came up to me and said this was a perfect idea for a Christmas present for her child’s grandparents. I hope other parents follow through and publish their children’s stories as well. My granddaughter, now eight yeas old, is still going full speed ahead with writing and illustrating. I’m sure I’ll have more of her books to publish and maybe soon she will be self-publishing her own.
Once the children started writing, they were busy and productive. I walked around the table helping the youngsters and looking at what they were writing. Needless to say, 5 PM came quickly and the happy children left full of energy and pizza. The workshop was also fun for me, taking me back to fond memories of my own teaching days many years ago. I also find that these workshops help promote my three OTP, children’s books and definitely result in sales. I hope to schedule similar workshops in the future.