Parking is at a Premium !
Updated: Mar 7
Authors (and illustrators) bring lots of electronics, props, and books to a school visit. For instance, one prop I love sharing with kindergarteners and first graders is a full Native American headdress. It ties nicely to D is for Drum - A Native American Alphabet and helps bring the book to life in a real-life way. Several (lucky) students model it during my talk and it makes for a great "Kodak Moment." Do people still know the phrase "Kodak Moment?"
BUT, I usually arrive well after school has started and park in a space far from the front door. Although I have a cart, it's often a long haul to the school's security door. My talk often sparks additional book sales with teachers during the day, necessitating multiple trips back to the truck. This is not a complaint, really, but I've made as many as five trips to my truck to get books. Once in a "mountainous area" I parked in the third lot down from the schools. The parking was tiered and I had two sets of stairs to climb before I got to the stairs leading up to the front of the school. AND, it was winter with temperatures in the 20s.
Once, in Florida, I pulled up to the school I was visiting that day and discovered the closest parking spot to the front door had a reserved sign with my name on it. My school's contact set an orange cone in the center of the spot. I've seen millions of these orange cones in school gyms over the years. Protruding from the center of the cone was a yard stick with a sign attached:
"Reserved for Author Michael Shoulders"
It REALLY put a smile on my face.
I've often wrestled with the decision about asking for a special reserved spot. To be honest, asking for such a favor sounds arrogant and pompous.....that is........until I have to walk back to the truck multiple times to get additional books.
Recently, a friend of mine, posted a picture on her FaceBook page. It reminded me of the school in Florida that did the same thing for me years ago. I'm posting her picture here. It really is a thoughtful gesture on the part of the school.
PLUS - parents might see the reserved sign as they drop off their children in the morning. It reminds them of the visitor their child will see that day.