Not too long ago, I was asked by one of my critique partners if I’d have time to Skype her third grade classroom. “We’ve read the first Cooper and Packrat,” she’d told me, “And started the second. They’re loving them so much!”
“I could try to scoot over for a visit, you’re school day is longer than mine,” I suggested.
“Oh! You could be our Mystery Reader!” she’d exclaimed.
I’d always wanted to be a mystery reader!
I counted the days until finally it was time.
So, I knocked, once, twice, three times. And smiled to hear the squeals on the other side of the door. Questions flew around the room, then silence.
My friend’s voice. “Are you a boy? Knock two times if you are. Once if not.”
One knock from me.
More chatter on the other side.
“Are you a grandmother?”
“Are you a Mom?”
Ah-ha! Trick question. I knocked twice. More squeals.
“Wait, wait,” I heard one girl say. “Is it one of OUR moms?”
My friend repeated the question. “Knock two times if not.”
I knocked once . . . then twice. Lots of squeals.
“Is it the writer of Mystery of Pine LAKE!? Is it?” I heard from a student. “Oh I hope so!”
My friend asked the question. “If so, knock twice.”
I knocked once. Pause. Twice.
Oh my goodness! What a welcome!
They had a campfire going in the middle of the classroom floor!
Students pulled me this way and that, showing me the work they’d done with the first Mystery of Pine Lake, and now Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest.
They were very proud of Packrat’s coat. Every time they read a scene in which he pulls something from it, they add it here.
Yes, even the mouse and the forgotten tuna sandwich!
I didn’t know I’d put 29 things in his coat, since Chapter 1, Book 1! Very cool! (I may need to use this for my own research)
When they were settled down, I spoke to them of inspiration. Of my writing process. Of Book 3 – Mystery of the Missing Fox. I showed my wildlife and campground photos. Soooo very many thoughtful and well thought out questions flew around the room.
And then . . . they made me a s’more.
Oh my goodness, but that tasted good!
I had so much fun! Thank you for inviting me Ms. Cooper! I hope you all enjoy the last couple chapters of Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest as much as I enjoyed visiting your classroom!