Author Q&A at Northwood Elementary

Author Q&A at Northwood Elementary

I love talking with kids and sharing my books. In some ways, the pandemic has made that more difficult, but it also has extended my reach. Last week I met with a group of students in Napa, California, over two thousand miles away from my home in Nashville.

I have to admit, this wasn’t just any group. It included my great-nephew A.J., and the session was set up by his mom Lilli Herbert, my niece. A.J. has inherited the reading gene and plows through books the way I did when I was a kid.

Each year A.J.’s school, Northwood Elementary, holds a read-a-thon, and this year Lilli was in charge. In January, Lilli wrote to me, “We usually do a prize for the top reader of each grade level. I was wondering if you might be willing to do a Zoom with the top readers for the third, fourth, and fifth grades (not the little guys!). I was thinking they could ask you questions about writing. And then, as an added treat, I was hoping to give them signed copies of one of your books.”

I happily agreed, and A.J. reread several of my books to decide which one would make the best prize. He chose Night on Fire, my historical novel about the Freedom Riders.

Two months later the read-a-thon was over, and I was Zooming with students in Napa. The questions were great. The kids were greater. One of them, Audrey Schallon, was kind enough to send a thank-you letter. You can see it here and read it below.

Thank you, Audrey. Thank you, A.J. and Lilli. And thank you, students of Northwood Elementary School.

Dear Mr. Kidd,

Thank you for taking time out of your day to Zoom with us. The thing that stood out to me was when you said that “reading is writing turned inside-out.” I love reading and have begun to write short stories about a girl named Violet. Sometimes I take books and continue the story or I make a new story.

Your book “Night on Fire” was very good. You really explained the divide between white people and black people, and how they could be friends in a divided world. I look forward to reading more of your books. I hope you get to take that trip to Moscow.


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