Who needs J.K Rowling to keep kids entertained at an author visit? Westmount charter had been visited by an author earlier this month that didn’t need to be the author of the Harry Potter series to keep kids entertained. The author, Jonathan Auxier, came to the school on October eleventh to give kids a sneak preview of his new novels, Peter Nimble and The Night Gardener. As the visit went forward in the learning commons of the school, the audience could not have been more entertained, and neither could the author!
Auxier started the visit by asking kids about their favorite stories that they have read, which had kept them itching to speak with hands being raised again and again. After he had entertained the kids with stories about his encounter with Jeff Kinney (Author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series), he moved quickly to his next task, making them take an oath, to promise never to spoil his books for anyone who was not at the visit lest they will, in Auxiers’ own words, “be hung from a flagpole.” Before he began with his books, he also gained some self-confidence from getting the kids to shout, “Fantastic!” when he asked how he was doing, enthralling the kids, and himself, even further with his zany performance.
Auxier concluded his introduction by introducing his first book, Peter Nimble, the story of a young, blind orphan becoming the greatest thief known to men and mer at just ten years old. As a twist, before he told about his story, he explained to the kids how he had once taught people about yo-yos, and participated in contests using them. This is because to explain Peter Nimble, he used a yo-yo. As he went through scenes in the first part of the novel, the yo-yo made pictures for him, he made a picture of the raven that pecked out Nimbles’ eyes and the stars overhead with the yo-yo’s string. The kids watched, amazed, and astounded as Auxier happily performed trick after trick to illustrate Nimbles’ illustrious thieving career, all the way up until he stole something that changed his life forever.
The last book Auxier brought was The Night Gardener, the story of two children of fourteen and ten, Molly and Kip, left alone in England during the Great Famine after, “riding to their deaths.” as it were. Auxier had the kids step into the shoes of these characters while he voiced the first parts of the story, as they closed their eyes and imagined themselves heading to the sourwoods to find work. The kids sat in silence as they found themselves in an unknown place, finding work in a decrepit mansion, and learning that they things there may not all be as they seem.
The fun didn’t stop there, though, as Auxier had three volunteers step up and put on blindfolds, as he prepared to see if their senses were sharp, like Peter Nimbles’ had to be. His audience was in hysterics as as he wafted flowers, and even shoes in front of the unwary trio, as they tried to guess, only by smell, what they were. At the end of it all, Auxier concluded an amazingly well done author visit by passing around autographed cards and sketches he created during the visit, as he was mobbed by throngs of exited grade-students. Kids and teachers left the learning commons happy, as they had just met one of the most entertaining and funny authors of our time, by the name of Jonathan Auxier. As Auxier says, “Authors melt your brains and take over”, and students experienced that firsthand.