Introvert Superpowers

March has been a busy month for school visits!

Early in March, I visited the HEART for Christ homeschool support group. One thing I love about homeschool groups is the mixture of age ranges. These students ranged from 4th-8th grades, and their questions were deep, varied, and fascinating.

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Photo credit: Paty Sayre

Last week, I was the author guest at Allen At Steinbeck Elementary School. They hosted a schoolwide event called Story Fun Night, and it was just amazing to see so many kids and parents turn out to support literacy. The crowd was huge and I was recovering from a bout of laryngitis, but we had a blast anyway.

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Photo credit: Paty Sayre

I love visiting school groups and helping students get excited about reading and writing. But I wouldn’t always have said that. If you’d told my 13-year-old self I would one day be talking in front of dozens, sometimes hundreds of people, the shy, awkward teenager I was would have crawled under the nearest table (probably with a book).

I’m an introvert to the core. No work has better helped me understand that part of myself than Susan Cain’s amazing book Quiet. (It’s also an incredible resource for parents and teachers of introverted children, by the way.) Introversion can be a strength–it’s linked in many cases to traits like creativity, empathy, and a strong sense of conscience–but it can also be a hindrance to doing things like speaking dynamically in front of a crowd.

Unless passion is at stake.

Cain writes that (some) introverts have a special ability–call it a superpower–to temporarily act like extroverts for the sake of “core personal projects,” subjects they care about deeply.

For me, that subject is books.

When I’m talking about literacy, I’ve found that I can get up in front of people, speak with energy, and actually enjoy it. I get energized when I’m listening to students talk about their questions, their roadblocks, their story ideas. Because it’s about books. And kids. And putting the two together. And that matters to me.

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Photo credit: Paty Sayre

So yes, I thoroughly enjoy the solitude that a writing life entails. And yes, after speaking, I usually disappear into a book or take a nap. But I’ve also, surprisingly, come to love the part of my job that involves talking in front of people. I love the connection that reading offers us. I love the conversations that develop at the book signing table or over e-mail. I’ve discovered it’s actually pretty fabulous to love doing more than one thing.

So to all my fellow introverts out there–you’re okay. You’re doing fine. Follow your passions. They just might lead you to your superpower.

A Newsy Month for Books

Lots of exciting updates here! Besides being my birthday month, February has been a big one for the books!

First was the FANTASTIC news that Reader’s Favorite, an independent website, published a 5-star review of The Illuminator’s Gift (and gave it a shiny medal)!! I was so honored and encouraged to receive this kind of praise from a third-party source. You can read the review here. If you haven’t already left your own Amazon review of The Illuminator’s Gift and The Illuminator’s Test, I’d greatly appreciate it!

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Next up: I’m pleased to announce that you can now find BOTH my books shelved at Village House of Books (Los Gatos), Spectator Books (Piedmont), and Hicklebee’s (Willow Glen)! I won’t deny that I enjoy the convenience of Amazon, but if you’re looking for my books, consider doing something good for your neighborhood and picking up a copy at one of these local shops (they’re super cute on the inside, too!).

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Last but not least: this month I had the opportunity to be the first-ever author guest at the College of Adaptive Arts in San Jose. This innovative program offers adults with disabilities the opportunity to flourish by learning a variety of creative and life skills in a safe and nurturing environment. To be honest, presenting a lecture here was a stretching experience for me. Standard presentation formats all went out the window in the first five minutes. But in exchange, I got to witness the unique perspective and unlimited enthusiasm of these sweet students. They understand, perhaps more than anyone, that writing means seeing the world a little differently, like looking through a kaleidoscope.

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More exciting events are in the works, so keep checking back to the News & Events page for updates! To find out how to book me as a speaker at your own school, homeschool group, or event, check out the Speaking page.