Almost two weeks ago, I had the opportunity of speaking to Anderson University’s students and it was incredible. It was quite a different experience to my elementary visits, but equally special, and let me tell you…that is such a beautiful campus!
This time the presentation went deeper into my journey as a children’s book author, but we still got to read the book, which the students seemed to enjoy (although at the beginning I wasn’t sure whether to include the read aloud in the presentation). The audience were students from Dr. Cordoba’s Children’s Literature class.
I met Dr. Cordoba in December 2022. She contacted me after receiving my information through the Anderson’s County Library (with my permission), as a result of the Dino event they hosted for me last November. We met for coffee along two of her then students and I shared a bit of my experience with Santiago’s Dinosaurios. This chat triggered the idea of inviting me to Anderson University in spring. You see, the students in this class are required to write their own children’s book as a final project, which they will be presenting to their classmates and teacher in these coming weeks. So Dr. Cordoba thought that having me share my experience would be interesting and helpful for their students as they prepared their own presentations.
I prepared my presentation with much more detail about my journey and I was glad to be able to go deeper into how the idea of the book came to be, my early writing process, the editing rounds I had with my critique partners and the long journey I experienced in the querying trenches. I shared my query letter for Santiago’s Dinosaurios with them and discussed the heartbreak of rejection as well as the excitement of getting agents requesting more work. I took them through years of working, trying, and waiting until I ultimately found my editor through LatinxPitch event. Additionally, I shared how I finally got my agent (Natascha Morris – Tobias Literary Agency) and the next project coming for me next year. 🎉
When we read the book, I was able to pause and explain some things about the editing and illustrating process, which was fun and I could tell them why and how certain decisions about the book were made (adding Spanish, diversity, dinosaurs). I think that was particularly interesting and helpful for their own projects (at least I hope so).
By the end of the presentation I told them a bit more about how book birthdays go (particularly Santiago’s) and I shared photos and facts about the book events I’ve been lucky to have so far. Last but not least, we also spent time talking about the marketing efforts and strategies that were implemented for this book (by the publisher and me), which is something that was new for me to talk about in these presentations. I wrapped up my time by giving them some tips to help them with their writing in the future.
By the way, I want to share something I found cute, and it was that each student got a coloring page and they actually colored it 🥰😍 I took the sheets to show them the materials I normally use for my school visits and book signings, so I was pleasantly surprised when they each got one and enjoyed it. (You can see them on their desks.)
As you can tell, this was such a fun and unique experience for me and I’m so grateful. I hope the students felt the same way and that somehow they were inspired and encouraged to work on their own projects.
I wish them all the best on these last days of school and I hope they’ll rock those children’s books!
Thanks for reading! 🦖🦕
Cover photo by Cup of Couple.