Perseverance #SOLSC18

1 Mar

A few weeks ago, while I was at ALA, I got an unexpected email from Ellie Terry, author of Forget Me Not,  the book my Mock Newbery Club chose as their winner.

A friend had alerted her to our results on ALSC’s Mock Election site and she contacted me, offering a free Skype visit with the group. Of course I said yes.

Emails circulated, invitations to students were sent. My only instructions to the students  were to come with some questions in mind. Yesterday it happened.

I had never done a Skype visit with an author before and this went so smoothly, I hope to do more! Okay, there was the glitch that the Skype app on my school computer was out of date and required an administrator’s password to upgrade. Fortunately, I tested things the day before and found a work-around: Facebook Messenger!

Ellie asked the girls (yes, it was all girls who made it to this before school event) to introduce themselves and then began by showing her rock collection that connects to the story. After telling a little about herself, the book and her process, she opened it up for questions and the girls did not disappoint! We had a really great visit.

The thing that stuck with me was this: Ellie Terry received over 300 rejection letters – I think she said the exact number was 326 – and she has saved them all. She has them laminated in a roll and shows it at school visits to talk to readers about perseverance. She had a belief in her characters and the story she wanted to tell and kept sending it out into the world believing it would eventually find its place.

Today is day one of the Slice of Life Story Challenge in which I will write one Slice of Life Story every day for 31 days and comment on the posts of other Slicers. It starts off easy and gets hard. I run out of ideas. I don’t feel like commenting. I get busy. This year, when I start hitting that wall, I will think of Ellie Terry’s roll of rejection letters and I will persevere.





11 Responses to “Perseverance #SOLSC18”

  1. elsie March 1, 2018 at 6:27 am #

    What a great experience for your students and you! I love that she kept those rejection letters, but yet knew her words mattered and needed to be in the world. Perseverance will be needed this month, but I know you can do it.

  2. Ramona March 1, 2018 at 6:40 am #

    Wonderful story of perseverance! And isn’t it fun for our readers to meet authors? I may need to add this title to my want to read list. I didn’t know about the ALSC’S mock election site. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ramona March 1, 2018 at 6:43 am #

      Just checked the site. So happy to see that two of my favorites received some Mock Newbery love – Train I Ride and forever or a long, long, time!

      • Adrienne March 1, 2018 at 7:37 am #

        I loved Train I Ride, a lot, too!

  3. jumpofffindwings March 1, 2018 at 7:46 am #

    There’s nothing like hearing an author’s real story about struggle to keep a person on the writing path. I read somewhere that if writing were easy, everyone would do it. Boy, that’s the truth. When my son was a fifth grader, I took him to hear Jerry Spinelli speak at the public library. His words are a voice in my head, not just for writing but for living: “Make friends with failure; he’ll teach you far more than success ever did,” this after suffering so many rejections he was ready to quit. Imagine not having his books?!

    Thanks so much for a terrific post. It’s awesome that you set this up outside of the school day. Your students must LOVE you. Welcome to #SOL18!

  4. arjeha March 1, 2018 at 8:30 am #

    Of course you said “yes”. What a thrill for you and the girls who attended. Looking forward to a great month of writings and readings.

  5. Diane Anderson (newtreemom) March 1, 2018 at 9:12 am #

    Of course I had to read and find out which author! What a great experience for the girls. I would love to see that roll of letters- that is an impressive object lesson!

  6. bevbaird March 1, 2018 at 2:10 pm #

    Great story about Ellie Terry. Will have to read her book. Perseverance really is needed by any writer. All the best to you this month.

  7. sallydonnelly11 March 1, 2018 at 3:11 pm #

    Authors are such Rock Stars!!! You’ve inspired me to start skyping!

  8. ebgriffin March 1, 2018 at 5:57 pm #

    Wow! You have given me new energy to persevere through the next 31 days! Thank you!

  9. terierrol March 1, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for the inspiration. I will remember that all those rejection slips do not have to deter the writing. Let’s keep writing!

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