Abbotsleigh School Literary Festival
Long-time readers will recall that last year I gave a Roald Dahl presentation for my nephew’s third-grade class in Willoughby. It went so well that his teacher has asked me to come back again this year. Fun, right? So that’s scheduled for next week. Well, when Gadgetgirl (who is a librarian, you know) found out, she asked me to come speak at the Abbotsleigh School Literary Festival too. That was last week, and it was pretty hilarious. I mean, the program was full of actual children’s authors and important people — and ME. I gave the same presentation as last year: who I am, how I became a Dahl fan, a bit about Dahl’s life, how I started my website, how I visited Gipsy House, and then some of the more interesting items from my Dahl collection. I had two sessions, first the fourth-graders and then the third-graders. I didn’t realise there was such a huge cognitive leap between those age groups! The fouth-graders were well-behaved and attentive, and they asked lots of good questions about Dahl. They were also strangely obsessed with hearing about his divorce! The third-graders were more fidgety and kept asking the same questions over and over. One of them asked what he died of, and I made the mistake of saying “pneumonia” (among other things). That led to 10 minutes of “What’s pneumonia?!” and “My grandpa had pneumonia but he didn’t die!” Lesson of the day: 9-year-olds go for the soap opera; 8-year-olds go for death and disease.

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