When I talk to the K-2 crowd, they’re always surprised to learn what I remember about being their age:
1. I never went to kindergarten. We lived out in the country and my parents would have had to pay for a special bus to take me to school. They figured I didn’t need kindergarten because I could read a little, write my name, say my ABCs, count, and I had good manners (well, most of the time). What they didn’t realize was this: I was extremely jealous of my neighborhood friends who boarded that bus!
2. When first grade rolled around, I was at the bus stop an hour early. I had my Scotch Plaid/Tartan bookbag with the really cool buckles, a matching tin lunchbox complete with matching Thermos, ten #2 pencils, and a shiny apple for the teacher. I couldn’t wait to go to school! And that love of school stuck with me throughout elementary school, middle school, high school, and college.
2. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Oberholtzer. She had gray hair pulled into a perfect bun and was a real-life giant, at least that’s what I thought. Either she was very tall or I finally realized I was short. I loved Mrs. Oberholtzer. She was smart and kind, and introduced me to the wonderful world of books.
3. In second grade I was put in the corner. It wasn’t my fault, really. Drew Boyer kept talking to me, and I finally told him, “STOP!” I got in trouble; he didn’t. He tried to make it up to me by proposing marriage. I did not accept, and vowed one day to seek revenge. It’s because of Drew that I was scared to death of my second grade teacher, Miss Ziegler, and that I ended up not raising my hand for an entire year.
Most children’s book authors, like me, remember our childhoods. We may look like grown-ups, but in our hearts we’re still kids.