I was thrilled to read “The Big Bad Rain Monster,” (“TBBRM”) recently, at the
Summit Academy – Nassau, The Bahamas.
There were 15 sets of dancing little eyes staring up and me. Intimidating? It was, even if it wasn't my first reading, and the children were merely five and six.
Personally, I’m not fond of public speaking, and although I’m reading my own story - the story that I imagined and wrote - I do ad-lib, so public speaking does come into play. I also haven’t exactly committed the words to memory. Considering all that, I’m still slightly daunted with the concept of addressing an audience, especially so young. After all, kids are highly inquisitive and sometimes downright truthful, whether we like it or not!
As in previous school visits, I was greeted by well-behaved children, with a few muffling giggles of embarrassment about who knows what.
The students sat nestled closely together on the classroom rug, while I sat in a pint size chair facing the line of fire. Ms. Johnson, the Vice-Principal and K5 Teacher, thoughtfully asked if the chair suited me and it did, but writing about it now, I wonder: Apart from being thoughtful, did she ask about the chair because of my age? I did leave my cane in the car! Oh, no. That’s probably just my paranoia concerning an alarming birthday that’s swiftly approaching.
The timing of my visit to
was perfect. Coincidentally, the class was studying changes, dedicating two weeks on weather, a pivotal topic in “TBBRM.” I was
grateful that “TBBRM” was offered the
opportunity to make a positive contribution to the student’s curriculum. Summit
In retrospect, I've ascertained that carrying a purposeful copy of the book - with the essential reading parts highlighted - is my most beneficial tool. In this way, I accommodate not only the very young with a condensed reading, guaranteeing their attention, but also allow time for questions and answers. Little readers are soon-to-be an itchy audience, no matter how interesting the material.
I was halfway through the story when I realized that my eyes were suffering a slight ( very slight :) conflict with the highlighter color, font, and overhead lighting. I briefly considered parking my reading glasses on my nose, but when I remembered the reading I gave at The Hampton Library in Bridgehampton, New York, (Thursday, July 26, 2012 blog post) there was no way I would wear them.
I had worn a long, shapeless dress, back in July, and had considered my glasses, but after the thought of throwing a shawl over my chilled shoulders, along with the glasses, I had a visual of “Grandma Moses.” So, I ditched the idea fast. Had I worn the glasses, and shawl, all I would have been missing was the rocking chair, and I do have to protect my image!
, I was able to manage
sans eyeglasses. Hurrah for young Grandma! Summit
In the end, the reading went well, even without my 4 eyes. All 15 were immediately mesmerized by the whimsical characters: Sweetie Bumpkins, Lady Chee-Chee and Sir Grumbles. They especially enjoyed the illustration of Mrs. Roundbottom, a sure hit, each and every time.
During and after the reading, I asked questions and made comments about pertinent topics, including those weather related. I also asked my standard question: “What music do you think Lady Chee-Chee was listening to?”
When I had asked that of my grandson’s Montessori school in
New York, I was somewhat
shocked when he – my very own grandson - blurted out, “I’m sexy and I know
it!” You can be sure that that blurb instantly
raised a few eyebrows with the adults present.
however, one smiley faced boy answered, “Rap music.” ‘Gee,’ I replied, ‘I always thought Lady was
listening to classical music. I never considered Rap before.’
I then asked if anyone knew what classical music was and a brown haired girl with springy curls said, “Nice music.”
The room was overcome with giggles, until the teacher suggested some photos. I then found myself seated in between an energetic yellow cluster of ready-to-be jumping beans. It was then that I realized – I was the only one out of uniform – no yellow at all, but it didn't matter; “The Big Bad Rain Monster” and I had made new friends, just the way we were.