Last Monday I did my first school visit of the new year — and my first-ever European visit — at the American School of The Hague! My Favorite Author in the Whole Wide World was there with me and got these photos of me in action.
After my visit, the school followed up with a few questions that I was happy to answer. I found this one especially thought-provoking:
During your presentation [about Moving Forward: From Space-Age Ride to Civil Rights Sit-Ins with Airman Alton Yates] our elementary students students grew to care about Alton Yates. How do you connect children (or just people really) to topics that are removed from their daily reality?
I’ve found that the key to connecting readers with Alton Yates and other subjects — not necessarily well-known — in my biographies is to provide enough details about that person’s life and circumstances that readers can relate to them and get a sense of what that subject has in common with the reader or with someone the reader knows. And then I try to provide a clear sense of the challenging decisions faced by those subjects. If I can accomplish those things, it’s not so big a leap from “What did Alton do?” to “What would *I* do?”
Thank you, everyone at ASH, for making Jennifer and me feel so welcome. Hope to see y’all again soon!