The first school I visited where I was paid was the small town of Long Prairie, Minnesota. I asked students if they'd ever worked with an author. All of them raised their hands and described the piece they had written. I was amazed because they were high school seniors and the writer had come when they were in third grade. I realized then what a strong impression an author visit can have on students and know it's not always clear at the time which students are impacted the most.
I've done hundreds of author visits since then and I love going new places big and small. Yesterday I was in Decorah, Iowa and had a great time with 400 middle school students. Tomorrow, I am going to a high school specially designed for recent immigrants. Each school or library is an opportunity for me to learn more about where I am.
The people whose school and library visits I admire all love doing them. Each author or illustrator presents in a different way, but this love shows through. I also connect with students by letting them know that writing is hard work and that I struggle with some of the same things they do. They love seeing messy first drafts and rejection notes and I love showing them.
For me, school and library visits are one of the great joys of being a writer.