As a writer, I have many reasons to give thanks this year: my past books, a current project which has caught the interest of an editor, new picture books on the horizon for 2010 and 2011.
But at the moment I am especially thankful for the work I get to do with elementary school children. I just finished a week of working with seven classes of fourth graders as a visiting author. I guided the students through the stages of creating a book, from writing a first draft to making revisions to drawing illustrations. I shared with them both past and current writing projects of mine. We talked about the joys, and frustrations, of writing.
Being able to visit each classroom multiple times allowed the students and me to make a strong connection. By the end of the week they were showing me books they had created at home and giving me illustrations they had sketched in their free time. What a delight it was for me to walk into a classroom and have the students cheer, or to receive a thank you letter saying "I never realized how much I liked writing until you came to our class."
As schools continue to tighten their financial belts even more and money for outside speakers becomes harder to find, I am thankful that I am still asked into the classroom. These experiences are rewarding to me on many levels, and for that I am extremely grateful.