I spent yesterday afternoon in a classroom full of second-graders, talking to them about the importance of stories—in my life, in theirs. They were the most unabashedly enthusiastic audience I’ve entertained in, well, maybe forever. The last part of my time with them was spent in constructing a mystery together, the story of a beloved pet rattlesnake named Bob which has gone missing from its aquarium. The kids suggested and then chose the plot elements—the names, the setting, the kind of pet at the story’s heart (some wild suggestions there!), motives, clues, and finally the title. And now I’m going to take all this information and write the story. I’ll send it back to their teacher, Mrs. Haggar-Olson, and the kids will create the accompanying artwork. Then we make the book.
I’m betting both my Edgar and Anthony that the story these kids have given me is a winner. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.