Tuesday my library hosted a visit by the fantastic children’s author Mireille Messier. I am still on such a high from this awesome event. Here’s why…
The event itself was a huge success as it was attended by fifty-four grade 4 students from a local elementary school. Both Mireille and I were thrilled that the school opted to allow the students to walk approximately 15 minutes to the library instead of having them take the bus despite the chilly temperature. As a result the students arrived at the library bright-eyed and alert; they were consequently on their best behaviour and I believe that at one point or another during the presentation they all raised their hands to participate.
As a presenter, Mireille Messier was incredible. Her background in theatre studies and radio shone through as she engaged the members of her audience with her highly energetic and interactive presentation. Her main topic of discussion was “Where do authors get their great ideas?”. In general, the students offered extremely creative and surprisingly mature answers when asked what might provide the inspiration for stories. One tiny boy boldly stated that authors could receive inspiration from landscapes. How insightful, it was very cute! Another fantastic exercise that Mireille did with the students was to show them all the same picture and then have them describe what they thought the corresponding story would be. The objective was to demonstrate that although we can be inspired by the same source, each individual has unique ideas. So AKA don’t copy other people’s ideas!
In addition to having a great turnout and being able to offer a fantastic and high quality library event, the coolest part of the author visit was hanging out with Mireille herself. It was planned by my regional office that I would pick up Mireille at the airport when she arrived in New Brunswick as she was kicking off her multi-library Communication Jeunesse tour at my library. I was also supposed to accompany her for lunch on Tuesday right before the presentation. I admit that I was slightly nervous about the prospect of entertaining someone I’d never met. What if she turned out to be a timid author who chose to write books because she was too shy to speak? (I’ve met a few of these types before). Boy was I worried for nothing! Mireille is the most friendly, warm, and interesting person! It was an absolute pleasure to spend so much time with her prior to her library visit. We discussed our love of Halloween, different educational systems, our families, and of course books! In fact, at lunch time we were discussing a certain topic and Mireille’s eyes got wide and she explained “That’s a great idea for a book!”. She then proceeded for the next few minutes to write furiously in her notebook so not to forget the idea. I guess I haven’t hung out with a lot of authors before but that was the first time that has ever happened to me. It was a bit startling but also very exciting. Mireille’s books are highly in demand by publishers since she is the only Franco-Ontarian author who writes elementary-age level books in French. Therefore I have no doubt that this idea born in a restaurant in Tracadie-Sheila will one day be published in a book. What a fun feeling it is to be included in the creative process of an author!
It’s on days like these that I truly appreciate how lucky I am to be a librarian!