Wednesday, March 04, 2009

tips for the road

It seems like I have been non-stop traveling...because I have! I've been fortunate to be invited to visit many schools this spring, lately in Ohio and Texas. They've been wonderful visits, where lovely librarians have introduced me to the wonders of Metro MintWater:
(Really, this stuff is amazing. I am on a search to find it on the east coast!)

Also, I was given the BEST complimentary gift to give to an author, an assortment of post-it notes in its own case:

(Oh, why did I not have you 6 months ago when I was revising my novel?)

And I met the greatest bunch of students, including some Chinese-American twins!
(Ling and Ting, here I come!)

But, it is a little tiring. As I gear up for more marathon visits this Spring, here are some extra tips in addition to my first tips:

1. Don't underestimate the joy of a bowl of cereal alone in your hotel room.
On the way from the hotel to the airport, ask to stop at a grocery and pick up some milk and a box of cereal. If the hotel room does not have a refrigerator, fill the wastepaper basket full of ice for your milk. Believe me, it's worth it. After a day "on," it's a luxury to sit in the quiet of your room and not deal with restaurants or even room service.

2. Don't eat the hotel breakfast.
Along the same lines as #1, covet the alone time as much as possible! Cereal and milk in the morning is a nice, leisurely way to start the day, and saves you the temptation of the unhealthy bacon and sausages.

3. Check the weather before you go.
I went to Ohio, where the weather was in the 40's to Texas where the weather was 80! And I only brought turtlenecks. Not the most comfortable in TX!

4. Take photos of all the activities that the schools do with your books.

I particularly enjoyed this collection of student illustrated Year of the Dog similes:And it's inspired me to work on a Simile Workshop program to offer to schools.

5. Have something to leave behind.
Students inevitably all want your autographed, but it is overwhelming to be bombarded by hundreds of kids waving scraps of paper. And when you sign one, you must sign all--and it's unlikely that these scraps of paper will make it past the recycle bin in a week. So, to ward this off I usually give autographed bookmarks to each of the students. This, however, is getting unwieldy so I am going to switch over to a poster to each classroom instead. Regardless, I don't think it matters so much what you give, as long as you give something to make up for refusing to sign scraps!


Libby Koponen said...

Grace, these are great ideas, especially stopping at the grocery store on the way to the hotel and filling the wastepaper basket with ice for the milk!

Yay, tea in my room -- with fresh milk.

But they're all really good; that one goes for ALL traveling, not just school visits.

Meghan McCarthy said...

Grace, after my school visit yesterday and everyone wanting my autograph (the teachers said no) they asked for me to draw a picture and sign it and then they'd photocopy it and give it to each kid. I love your bookmark idea though. I think I'll try that! (if I ever get bookmarks that is). Kids will want anything signed, including their foreheads!

laurasalas said...

Thanks for these tips, Grace--I'm doing two weeks of visits in April, and will use these.

One question...those cool autographed bookmarks--so are they PRINTED with your autograph? In other words, you're not pre-autographing these, are you?