by Jeff Vogt
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
This quote from The Catcher in the Rye has stayed with me. It was a wishful thought by Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of the novel. It’s something I can relate to. After a particular interesting read, I, too would like to converse with the author. Now I can. Social media has made this easier.
Many popular authors are online—although where they are online may vary. If you want students to find an author you have to know where they are. Many authors today are active participants on the widely popular social media site, Twitter. I can remember the first time I reached out to an author on Twitter. I told her how much I liked a quote of hers and how I enjoyed her first book. She responded to me with some insight on the quote and gratitude for my note. I’ve had similar experiences with many other authors. Recently I engaged into a casting discussion with Eleanor & Park author Rainbow Rowell, who is currently adapting her YA novel into a screenplay. It meant so much to me that this multiple award-winning author not only took the time to read my thoughts about her book but to respond so favorably. Today, connecting with an author has never been easier.
For many students, connecting with an author whose work they admire might be intimidating. If you encounter this with your students, be sure to model those connections and talk to students about the connections you’ve made (ie: Did you read what John Green said on Twitter the other day?). School librarians can be the center of the reader-writer relationship. We should use our position to bring the two ends together.