So (for those of you who don’t know) I’m a substitute teacher. And this week, I made the specific effort to be at a specific school on the day when I knew David Wiesner (award winning author and illustrator of 10 AMAZING watercolor, handpainted, children’s books) would be there.
I tracked him down in the school library to ask him to sign a copy of his book Sector 7. I was super nervous because everyone else (who went to/worked at the school) ordered theirs ahead of time. I was terrified he’d say no because I’m a lunatic with anxiety. When I got to the library, my anxiety kicked into high gear because HALF THE TEACHERS WERE THERE FOR A SPECIAL BREAKFAST!!!
I stood awkwardly in the library holding my book for 15 minutes while I waited for him to be alone because I was embarrassed to be asking him for his autograph and didn’t want him to say no in front of another teacher. Finally, I saw an opening and asked him to sign my book. (I explained that I was a substitute so I couldn’t order one.)
Not only did he sign it, he also drew a character FROM THE BOOK on the title page along with his signature and “To Giselle”. It was so great! I also told him that my dream is to be a writer, and he gave me some bits of advice for how to break into the world of writing children’s books (which I want to do in conjunction with YA and maybe adult books, though that’s more of a question mark.)
It was a brilliant experience. BUT it doesn’t end there. Today, I went to a different school, where I was a substitute librarian. Why was I a substitute librarian?? Because David Wiesner was presenting at THAT school, and the librarian was going to be with him all day helping him with his presentations. I had nothing for him to sign today, but I got to hang out with him a bit before school and talk to him. AND I GOT TO HAVE LUNCH WITH A 3 TIME CALDECOT MEDAL WINNER!! And he actually talked to me and asked me questions about my life and career, and it was amazing!! I’m still freaking out!!!
And that is the tale of Giselle’s first networking experience as a writer. Please excuse me while I die in a corner from over excitement.