… was not at the Salon du Livre in Toronto, but in my French class. It was a huge surprise for me today when my French teacher, one of the biggest advocates for my books, organized a Q&A in French, to prepare me for a real-life meeting with French readers. Now, this was not your usual crowd of reporters, but a bunch of French enthusiasts, most of which are parents and grandparents. That is my dream audience!
Some of them already have my books, others are waiting for the new print run of the Christmas story to be available, most of them are familiar with the story-lines, as they were turned into a “Listening and Comprehension” exercise.
What a humbling experience it was!
They asked so many wonderful questions and made some beautiful remarks. I had tears in my eyes because of a touching story of a granddaughter who isn’t even 2 years of age, correcting grandma if she skips a page. Children are wonderful and it is tiny stories like this, their reactions, their demands, their joy, that keep me writing and commissioning illustrations and going through the growing pains for each of my books.
How did I do, you might ask? Well, quite poorly, after my own standards. Pretty decent, said my French teacher, handing me a list of mispronounced words and things I should revise. It’s frustrating to want to say a lot, and not find the proper words and expressions, to have them on the tip of your tongue, and struggle in letting them out. But it’s also a great motivation to prepare for this kind of questions, to think about possible answers before going out in the real world. I have a collection of great talking points for my next class.
Un grand merci, Madame Sheila!
Lessons learned from my classmates today:
Always try. Put yourself out there. Be the first person to believe in yourself. Even if you are not sure you can do it, do your best. Practice. Prepare. Expect the unexpected. Enjoy the journey.