Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

A squee for Cat Valente, part one

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I got an email from the school librarian, last week.  Would we be interested in bringing students to hear an author speak?  Someone named “Cat Valente.”

I was the only person who knew Valente’s work, among our English teachers, so I was the only one who immediately replied to the email in effusive, all-caps delight.  Hell YES, my students would be going to hear Cat Valente speak.  ‘Author visits’ are usually from people who are little-known, obscure, occasionally even self-published.  But Valente?  I already know her!  I loved The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making!  Also Palimpsest!  Which my junior-high students are definitely not old enough to read.  Now she’s touring to promote the sequel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, and she’s offered to speak to students at my school

I immediately started making arrangements to pull my students out of other classes so they can all go.  I’ve often cancelled or rearranged my classes for other people’s field trips and performances, and never asked for anything in return.  Now it’s my turn.

Today, I made photocopies of the first chapter of Fairyland, and my students and I read it aloud.  Part of it, anyway.  Valente uses lots of difficult words, and we spent time glossing them, understanding each paragraph.  My students had some ideas about specific style techniques that Valente was using to create humor, and they were having fun identifying allusions to Peter PanAlice in Wonderland, and Cinderella.  I passed out pre-sale forms, and I think several kids are planning to order signed copies.

It was absurdly fun, all of it.

I’m only concerned that when she visits, she will be flooded with questions about nitpicky details of the first half of chapter one.  “How exactly does the ring of diplomatic immunity work?”  “How can fairies confiscate and smelt iron, if fairies traditionally can’t touch iron?”  “How can I be sure I am not a changeling?”

Well, if she does school events, I’m sure she has a plan for dealing with the unexpected and the odd.

I am intensely excited about her visit.  I think that my kids are, too.


Written by Contented Reader

October 6, 2012 at 6:14 am

Posted in True stories


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