Book Talks: Inspiring Elementary and Middle School Students

I visit elementary and middle schools with 3 goals in mind: inspire kids to read, write, and follow their dreams. I tell them my story with the hopes it inspires them to write their own, both figuratively and literally. I want to show them proof that they can do it, that they can dream big and let their imagination take them places.

I know some of the kids will not be persuaded to take up writing, and that’s okay. I hope their take-away is that no matter what their thing is, they can do it. It’s all about putting in the hard work, the effort, and their determination.

I would have loved to hear that message when I was younger, so I feel lucky I get to spread it now. It’s important for them to hear that they can do it.

It’s also important that I help them make the distinction between school writing and creative writing. In school, students write a lot of nonfiction and essays with assigned prompts. That’s not all that writing is, and I want them to know that. Writing can be freedom, a creative outlet, self-expression. Writing can be anything you want it to be.

With every school I visit, I look out into the sea of faces and latch on to the kids I see absorbing my words. Even if there is only one, it makes me happy to see in their face that I inspired them. It makes it all worthwhile.

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