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I don’t know about you, but I am always trying to come up with creative ways to bring my kids’ love of reading to life. As much as I would love to think so highly of myself, it seems my blog does not quite add any practical value to how reading & writing carries over into the real world for them. LOL!
When I heard one of Landry’s favorite authors, Chris Colfer (yes that kid from Glee) was coming into town to do a book signing, I knew we had to jump at the chance to let Landry meet him. Chris Colfer is the brilliant mind behind “The Land of Stories” series. Have you heard of it?
“The Land of Stories” is an incredible middle-grade series that follows twins, Alex & Connor, as they are pulled from our world into the land of Fairy Tales. We love any twist on the classic stories that we love so much, and Colfer does a brilliant job of intertwining them all through this adventure of mystery and magic. If your child is a fan of the “Harry Potter” series, this is a story that is sure to enchant them.
A friend of mine had originally told me about the books, and I bought the first two to read at night as a family with myself and both boys. However, Landry started reading ahead and spoiling the good parts for us, so I just let him go for it, and Luke and I will read them together when he’s just a little bit older.
When Landry finished the original series of 6 novels, he refused to get into anything else! We begged him to try other series kids his age were into but time and again we found him rereading these stories. Luckily, Chris Colfer decided the story wasn’t over yet and started a new series within the Land of Stories with new characters. Landy was so excited when he found out and could not wait for the book release!
Most people recognize Chris Colfer from his rise to fame with Glee, and his groundbreaking, inspirational character, Kurt. From the age of 19 he was influencing young kids to embrace who they are, all of their quirks, and what makes them unique. He inspired them to accept and love those who are different. What many don’t know is he began dreaming up “The Land of Stories” when he was only 10 years old. From a very young age, he had an imagination that took him to other worlds. He had an imagination much like my son Landry does now.
Not only does this series inspire Landry to imagine other worlds, but he also encourages him to think deeply and differently about stories or situations. On face value, Snow White is a princess who runs away to escape an evil stepmother and then is saved by a handsome prince. In Colfer’s depiction, she becomes the Queen and believes in the power of love and redemption. Other popular characters and princesses are great warriors in the book, have backstories, and families of their own. The series showed Landry that a book isn’t simply a beginning, middle, and end. There are many twists and turns a story can take if its author can dream it up.
Chris Colfer also shows kids how someone who is young, and normally would be considered an underdog can change the world, and can become someone amazing. I knew Landry had to meet him when I saw the book tour was coming to our area!
The book signing was for the latest story called “A Tale of Magic” and was happening at a Barnes and Noble about 45 minutes from our house. It was set to start at 2:00 in the afternoon, and the tickets said that they would allow people to start getting in line at 1:00. I assumed that Chris Colfer would draw a crowd of both book and Glee fans so I thought we should get there a little early. We arrived a little before 12:00 and already the line was started outside of the store.
It was a delightful October fall day in North Texas… a nice cool 95 degrees without a cloud in the sky! The perfect weather for waiting outside for an hour! The things we do for our kids, right? Luckily some of our good friends from school joined us so the company helped the time fly by. I was right when I figured there would be a mix of fans. There were kids who loved the series, LGBTQ fans, Glee fans, and a few crazies. The crazies were at least very kind, only slightly creepy, had been there since 6 am with camping chairs & full coolers, and were happy to talk our ears off about Chris Colfer.
The store managers were really great in helping keep everyone in an orderly line, and even brought out waters to help with the heat. I’m glad we did get there early though because we were in one of the first groups to get into the real line, where others were still outside when we were leaving a couple of hours later.
Landry’s turn in line came up and he was so excited! I couldn’t help but notice how kind Chris Colfer had been with each individual kid, and it was the same with mine. He spent a few seconds talking to him about the book, and Landry was thrilled. He had questions he wanted to ask but ended up a little star-struck and didn’t get them out.
Colfer has written other offshoots of the books that, of course, we had to buy so Landry could read those too! But here is the really cool thing, since the book signing, the kid has not asked me for screen time once. He finishes his homework, then turns his music on his tablet and takes his book to his room to curl up and read. I call that a mom win!
We loved the experience of getting to meet a real-life author. I think seeing the person behind the pages can be so powerful for kids, and helps them see what is really possible in life. We will definitely be attending more in the future (ahem, JK Rowling, this if your official invitation to come to Texas)!
This book signing was run like a well-oiled machine, and Chris Colfer wasn’t signing anything that wasn’t purchased in-store, or ordered with the ticket. I do wish I would have prepped Landry a little bit about what he wanted to ask so he wouldn’t have gotten too shy to ask, or asked someone to take pictures for me so I could stand by him and remind him that he wanted to ask “Where did your idea come from?” Next time!
Also, I had just assumed we could grab something for a snack from Starbucks and didn’t realize that we would be waiting outside. Next time, I’m bringing snacks and something for us to do! Our friends showed up with an umbrella to help combat the sun which was so smart! We will be paying closer attention to the weather next time. Otherwise, it was a great afternoon, and one my son will remember for a long time!
Have you taken your child to meet an author or one of their heroes? What was that experience like? Let me know in the comments!
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