Hi, Harrison Students, 4th through 7th grade,
I fell in love with your school, with your dear principal, Mr. Phillips; your vivacious vice principal, Ms. Moody; your cycling program specialist, Mr. Colburn; and all your humorous and gentle teachers. I sat in the faculty lounge and sensed real camaraderie. When members of faculty are kind to one another you, the students, benefit. Trust me, I’ve been to many of schools so I know Harrison is special. It is, in fact, my favorite during my Stockton visit.
The Central Valley is a rich landscape with its slow meandering waterways, the orange groves, bearing signs that say, “Mandarin Oranges,” then a mile later: “It’s good for you.” Don't let anyone tell you immigrants only take from society and give nothing back. I am so grateful for your parents and people of your area who grow the food we eat in America and feed much of the world. And yes, I love crunchy spring asparagus . . .had them for dinner last night because I was thinking of Stockton.
(Belle and parents, Joseph and Laning. This was taken the first week we arrived in America. As you can probably tell, we were a bit frightened.)
Kids, did you know that I was only one of 20 authors visiting 40,000 students in your school district last week? We were able to be with you because of Susan Katz (www.connectingauthors.com), our fearless leader with eyes the color of my Siamese cat, worked with your school district to make the visits happen. (Please click image above then click "original" to see enlarged picture and names of the visiting authors.)
I bet you didn’t know adults can get nervous talking before kids. Your teacher said, “Belle you would have know it if you lost the students’ attention.” I want to thank you all for being such good listeners. I wish I could have spent time talking to each and every one of you. I think I grew three inches because you taught me a lot about children, the world, about teaching and about myself. I don’t have kids of my own so you are all mine.
(Ms. Johnson's 7th grade class. I didn't realize just how healthy and attractive you kids are until I came home and studied this picture.)
I spent the longest time with the 2nd class of pretty Ms. Johnson’s 7th graders. I was there with you for an hour and a-half. Time flew because I was having fun. And I discovered you like substance: when I showed you my own book manuscripts and you saw that these go into multiple drafts, you suddenly realized that a professional writer’s work gets marked up with red pencils just as heavily as your own stories and essays.
I saw the gleam in your eyes when you realized that your teachers don’t dislike you when they mark up your stories, just like my book editors at the publishing houses don’t hate me because they scribble suggestions in my writing. My editors want my books to be the very best they can be. So when Ms. Johnson corrects your writing, she wants you to be your best. You saw that even my illustrations get marked up with suggestions multiple times before they get printed!
This web log you are visiting is part of redroom.com, a website for writers and readers. Please join. I hope you will visit redroom.com often and read other author’s web pages. Maybe you’ll read their books one day then come back to ask them questions. I think they’d be thrilled to hear from young people.
And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I would love to know who you all are. Last but not least, thanks for inviting me to visit!
With a big hug,
P.S.--Below is my 7th grade school picture. I was lucky I didn't have a pimple in the middle of my nose on this day. My mom always tells me my nose used to be too big for my face and my neck too thick.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
826 Valencia Street