Thanks to some lobbying by my dear friend, Angie Thunker, mine and Deanna’s novel, THIRTY EIGHT, was chosen as the school wide read for the Standing Rock Middle School. They started reading the story three weeks ago and on May 18, 2017 Deanna and I were asked to come and speak about it. We would be meeting with three different classes for a total of approximately 50 or so students.
At first we were a bit nervous. We hadn’t actually done a real presentation about the book before. Oh, we had done some book signings since it was released but we had never done anything like we would be doing at the Middle School. Once we arrived we were able to set up our table and then Angie took us around to show us some of the artwork that the students made after reading the book.
Here are the paintings some of the students made after reading the book. One student wasn’t really feeling it and did their own thing which is totally okay. But seriously, check out these paintings. These students are really talented!
Here are some of the Scratch Art that we saw. I think one of the classes wasn’t finished with theres so they weren’t up. Wish we could have seen what they did as well. These are really fantastic!
And finally, we took a stroll outside and saw some of the chalk art the students did. They were supposed to write poetry based on the book. There was a lot but most I couldn’t get good pictures of because they were starting to fade. Deanna and I both loved that there were all sorts of Dre love as well as love for Hope 🙂
Once the presentations started Deanna and I took some time to explain our inspiration and then answer questions that the students had written ahead of time. The kids were great, very respectful and while some had lots of questions, others did not. Most of the questions related to our writing, such as; how long it took us to write the book, how hard was it to get published, were the characters based on real people, were the events real events and what it was like to write a book. There were also a lot of questions about the ride itself which was very cool. I also came prepared to ask questions myself as I was curious what they thought of the various relationships in the story, i.e.: Dre and Viviana, Viviana and Hope and Viviana and her Uncle.
At the end of the Q&A for each of the classes Deanna and I handed out our signature butterscotch candies 🙂 and then raffled off a DVD of the documentary, Dakota 38, for each of the three classes. The students who won them seemed pretty happy about getting them. We then signed all the books for the kids that wanted them to be signed. It was pretty cool.
What was funny though, was that during the first presentation, Deanna was somewhat quiet but by the third she was a major chatterbox as her nerves lessened and she felt more sure of herself. It was wonderful to see her answering questions about the book, about writing and about being a Dakota 38 rider. I was so proud of her!
After we were finished with all three classes, we had lunch with the students and visited with them and faculty. It was a lot of fun. We even had a student ask us if we would write a story with her in it. It was so awesome 🙂 Once we we were completely done, we headed out and decided that we were due for a Starbucks treat so we just chilled at the coffee shop and processed the presentation. It really was an amazing day.
We are so thankful for Angie for thinking of us and for Principal Tomi Kay Phillips for allowing us to come to the school and talk about our book. We had a wonderful time and hope to be able to do it again!
Just a reminder that all royalties earned on THIRTY EIGHT goes towards the annual Dakota 38 Ride. If you haven’t bought a book yet please do so and help us, help the ride. You can buy THIRTY EIGHT at the following links: