Let's take a walk through a brand new day.
Meowzerz, Sly Fox, Sanic, Wolfy, Anima, Speedy and MORE!
Anyone who knows me will tell you that children have my heart. They are the soul, future, fire, and heart of a nation. Conversations with children are the best! Children tend to be sincere with their questions, staunch in their beliefs, and eager wide-eyed learners. Today, I had a great conversation with about fifteen 5th graders at Arthur Edwards Elementary in Havelock, NC. Their teacher, Ginny Mangum, had conducted a novel study with them on my book, Northbounders, 2,186 Miles of Friendship. The students inquired about the author because they had unanswered questions about the details of the story. Even though my home and their school is 527 miles apart with an 8 hour drive, Mrs. Mangum found a way to get those questions answered. We tried Skyping and FaceTiming, but a poor internet connection prevented that from happening. So, she regrouped and texted, “How about connecting on speaker phone?” The children didn’t let a little thing like poor technology stop their questions and comments. They were ready!
I was so impressed with the depth of knowledge they had after reading the book. They were able to empathize with the characters and give factual comments quoting trail lingo, mileage distances, place names and so much more. They understood that hikers should ‘Leave No Trace’ and why. They questioned the logistics of Trail Magic. They understood the bond of friendship between a boy and his dog. They felt pain and pleasure as Copper endured trials and hardships on the A.T. Needless to say, I was impressed! These children have been on earth for only 10 or 11 years but their understanding and knowledge of the etiquette, purpose, beauty, hardships, and joy of the trail was sophisticated and accurate.
Not only did they understand what they read, but they were able to use technology to make the Appalachian Trail come alive. They used a computer program, ThingLink, which is a digital tool that allows users to turn any image into an interactive graphic. As they began to understand what they were reading, they became characters on the Appalachian Trail and chose trail names which spoke to their personality, abilities, or character traits.
So, thank you, Hedgehog, Speedy, Anima, Sanic, Eyes, Red Survivalist, Dog Lover, Wolfy, Sly Fox, Hope, Meowzerz, Shadow Fox, Green Wolf Runner, Hidden Pup, Curious, and El Leone for a very rewarding conversation today. Concerning the question of whether I would consider having the book made into a movie…you guys find the producer and we’ll split the profits. And, yes, I think it is a grand idea for you all to be the hikers. After all, you’ve already got your trail names!
“Our Greatest Natural Resource Is In The Minds Of Our Children” – Walt Disney