Okay, so she isn’t exactly “cute and simple,” I’ll give you that. She’s decked out in boas and sequins and sparkly shoes, but she is cute and the messages of Fancy Nancy are pretty simple: life can be challenging at times, but there is usually a pretty simple solution.
It was just another Manic Monday and I needed to hop into my local independent bookstore for shrinky-dink paper. Yep, got another crafty project brewing. Of course, if you know me, you know I can’t just “hop” into a bookstore. Awhile later, I emerged from the store with several other items (including a signed copy of Jamie Lee Curtis’ newest kids’ book), a membership to the bookstore, and the knowledge that one of our favorite creators of literary character “Fancy Nancy” would be signing books that evening.
Ms. Jane O’Connor hails from New York and is a much more prolific author that I ever dreamed. When I went to Wikipedia for some friendly cyber-stalking, I saw a huge list of books to her credit, starting back in the 70’s. Who knew?! She has worked in the publishing industry for several decades, but fooled me when I met her. She is kind, caring, down-to-earth and very good with kids. In fact, I would have thought she more the librarian/grade-school teacher turned author type.
Kate was super-excited to go. As a budding author/illustrator herself–not to mention “fancy” girl–she couldn’t wait to get home from pom practice in order to don her fanciest um…stuff. Wand, boa, crown, sparkly shoes, doll, book, and smile, we headed out.
A sea of shiny cherubic faces greeted us as we navigated the crowd at the bookstore. The press quickly usurped upon us, asking if they could take Kate’s photograph. The press?! Really. I was dumbfounded, too. Kate was reallybeginning to feel like the fancy girl with the papparazzi following close behind.
After a reading of the new relase, “Fabulous Fashion Boutique,” Ms. O’Connor gladly signed autograph after autograph. In order of number, of course. We were #93 and it was a school night. Ugh. We waited and tried to look fancy through it all but it was hard. Once our number was called, Kate and I spent a good five minutes or so chatting with Ms. O’Connor. We told her we were glad to learn that the “little sister” really does have a name (you’ll have to read the book to find out). I shared that my husband has a teensy bit of a crush on the way Robin Preiss Glasser–illustrator (who used to have a professional career as a ballerina), draws Nancy’s mom. She laughed at that, “Oh, I will have to tell Robin. We haven’t heard that one before!” (Sorry, hon just had to share). And Kate told her she would like to be an “author for kids” one day, too.
If you go to a book signing….
- Plan ahead (unlike me) and get your books from home that you would like to have signed. Use a post-it note to mark how the author should sign the books. “To Kate and Kelly–nature girls” (for the book, “Explorer, Extrodonaire”) or whatever you’d like.
- If you learn of the event well in advance, ask if there is a book signing etiquitte that is to be followed. Sign up early and get your number (if there is such a thing).
- Show up to the reading early. I thought we were doing good by getting there 15 minutes ahead of time….WRONG. In the end, it turned out fine: we were front and center because we had, to be or we wouldn’t have gotten in.
- Have some games or snacks or something in your bag to keep your kid occupied if the waiting should get too long
- Remind your child to use her best manners, look at the author with her eyes and find some way to compliment her work
- Follow up with an extension-type activity. Make your own book, draw a picture of the experience, read a book on what it means to be an author.
- Remember that you are setting the stage for future interactions with authors and providing a glimpse at a future career. You never know what impression you may leave your child with.
Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique – Hardcover (Oct. 12, 2010) by Jane O’connor and Robin Preiss Glasser
Learn more about Jane O’Connor and her Fancy Nancy Series by clicking here: