Yesterday I was delighted to speak to the 6th graders in Bobby Shaw Middle School, Texas, thanks to the magic of Skype. This was my first Skype chat to a group of readers and I certainly hope that it won’t be my last! After a couple of technical hitches – (my fault; I hadn’t changed my laptop settings post Skype update) – we got down to business. First off, I was asked to explain where exactly Dublin is in Ireland. Once I described in as much detail as I could muster, the 6th graders told me a little about their home town of Pasadena. It’s a small town just outside of Houston.
After a bit more chatting and discussing the book, I read a passage. Finally I took some more questions. One thing the students were really interested in was the Vikings. Unlike in Ireland – (where we study the Vikings from an early age) – these kids wouldn’t get the chance to learn about the Vikings until High School. I gave a brief history lesson and told them why Dublin got its name. Before signing out, their teacher Mr Spilman asked me to clarify some Irish words and phrases. I explained what a Luas is, showed them how to pronounce tricky names like Ruairi and Deirdre and lastly confirmed that, yes, Heuston Station is a real place although I didn’t know why it’s spelled that way as opposed to the more common ‘Houston’.
All in all, this was a really enjoyable experience and one I’ll definitely use again in future.
EDIT: I just received an email from Mr Spilman telling me how much the class enjoyed the visit and that there’s even a waiting list for my book now. ‘It’s amazing how a short 20 minute visit can encourage a whole group of students to want to read your book.’