The magical day finally arrived. After 3 weeks of school, lots of circus photo booth pictures, invented tickets to Circus Mirandus, and many pages read, Cassie Beasley came to our school! The students have been buzzing with energy all week long. They’ve repeatedly asked, “Is today the day that she’s coming?”
Thanks to our PTA every 3rd-5th grade classroom got a copy of Circus Mirandus and 20 additional copies were given away to students who added their name to our raffle by taking a picture or making a Circus Mirandus ticket. I announced all of the winners on our morning broadcast.
Hannah and Will from Avid Bookshop arrived early and helped setup all of the books for autographing. We worked together to place post its in all of the books to make the signing smooth.
When Cassie arrived, it was so much fun walking her down the halls of our school through our Circus Mirandus tent and looking at our display of photo booth pictures.
We also took time to look at all of the tickets that students submitted and admired the student choices and how long each ticket was valid. We smiled at the crown of Artemis and how the student thought it should be good forever because it was a goddess crown.
Today was Cassie’s very first school visit, but you would not have known it without her saying it. She engaged the energetic students with a timeline of her life to show how she was a real person who first thought writers looked like people like Gandalf. Students connected with her as she told the story of how she was so engaged in reading while in school that she completely missed a fire drill.
She shared with students how it took 2 1/2 years to write Circus Mirandus, even though the first draft was written in a week. They saw pictures of her overflow bucket of revisions and heard about her filing cabinet which stored all of the drafts and notes. Cassie even showed notes from her sister that were being scribbled onto her manuscript up until the final stages of the book and how she continued to see things she had missed and added them in.
Students saw that even though Cassie has a book in print that is getting tons of buzz she is still working hard. She gave them some insight into the projects she is currently working on and how she covers her tables at home with notecards, ideas, and manuscripts. She wants to think about each character and spends time getting to know each one on a notecard.
Cassie showed students lots of evidence of how her life makes its way into her writing. We saw a picture of her black tea that is just the way Aunt Gertrudis likes it and her parrot which was the inspiration for Chintzy.
There were just so many nuggets of information that Cassie shared with the students to inspire both their reading and their writing lives. I can’t wait t see how this early author visit inspires student work throughout the year.
Cassie left plenty of time for questions, and wow…..students had some profound questions. One student asked about what Cassie does to make herself keep going with her writing. The student explained how she often starts writing but never finishes it. Cassie shared how it is sometimes hard to keep going, but you just have to make yourself sit down and write. She reminded about how she can change what goes onto the paper, but she makes herself get something down.
Our students gave her a thunderous applause, and students who won a book or purchased a book stayed behind to get books signed. These students continued to talk with Cassie. I just love how authors have a celebrity status in the eyes of readers. So many students just wanted her to sign something for them, and Cassie was wonderfully pleasant the whole time.
Before Cassie left, we had a bit of fun in our circus photo booth.
I have to send a huge thank you to Cassie for taking time to visit our school. Thank you Avid Bookshop for working diligently to make this connection happen and for helping the book selling and autographing process go so smoothly. Thank you Dial Books for Young Readers, a Division of Penguin Young Readers Group for supporting Cassie’s visit to our town. Thank you PTA for being such a supporter of our library programming and believing in our students and teachers. We believed in this author visit, and we certainly saw a bit of magic today.