Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Let's talk neworking Armchair BEA

Today, we're supposed to talk about networking and how those connections have had a positive impact. 

My followers know that I teach middle school.  I've taught 7th and 8th grade math for the last 8 years.  When I started StuckInBooks, I began sharing my books and that passion I feel for them with my students.  It helped me make connections with my students that I don't' think I could have done otherwise.  I want to share something I was able to do for a couple of my students as a result of the networking I've done through social media and StuckInBooks.

I love to get to know authors on twitter and I've discovered that they LOVE to know when my students are reading their books and what they think of them.  To that end, student reviews were born on my blog.  It is such an authentic way to encourage writing that I couldn't pass it up.

These are aww.... moments peeps - stick with me.   Anyway, two authors in particular have stood out for my students. 

Jennifer L Armentrout
The first one is Jennifer L. Armentrout.  She is Cora's, one of my students, favorite author (mine too).  Cora was so excited that I knew Jennifer.  Cora would ask me to tell Jennifer things and to share how happy she was to borrow my ARC copies of Jennifer's books.  At one point, Cora asked to email her.  Jennifer talked to her over email and was so kind.  It was something Cora will never forget. 

Cora took the money she had earned from good grades and bought EVERY JLA book that was currently available.  Her favorite was Obsidian.  She walked around with it.  When she had a bad day, her head was in it.  Anyways, she took in on a band field trip and it got lost.  I was so upset for her.  When the school year ended, I decided to give some StuckInBooks awards at the awards ceremony for the 8th graders.  I wanted to replace that copy of Obsidian for Cora.  I contacted Jennifer and she said why not give her Onyx instead.  I was so shocked and thrilled.  I don't even have a paper copy of Onyx.  Cora had been coming in to my classroom before and after school to read my eCopy.  Bottom line, Cora cried when I had her open the SIGNED copy of Onyx and I did replace the Obsidian for her too.  I couldn't have had that moment without the connections I had made with Jennifer.  She rocks more than just in writing! 

 And Cora - I'm still waiting on that review of Onyx.

M.R. Merrick
 The other author is Matthew Merrick.  Matt may not be as well known as Jennifer but I think he is fabulous.  He has written two books in the Protector series and is working on the third. 
The Protector series is urban fantasy from a male POV and I had one student, Patrick, who ate them up.  I let him borrow my copy of Exiled and he read it in one day and wrote this wicked good review for my blog.  Matt was pretty stoked about it and wanted to give Patrick a book.  He mailed me, from Canada, signed copies of both Exiled and Shift for Patrick (and for me).  Patrick was pretty overwhelmed with Matt's generosity.  He read and reviewed Shift for me as well. 

Then at that same awards ceremony, I wanted something for Patrick.  He was the only boy I had review for me and really his writing is fabulous for an 8th grader.  He already had the books, but I contacted Matt and he helped me get SIGNED posters of the cover art for Patrick in a very short amount of time - not an easy thing considering he's in Canada. 

Again this could never have happened without the blogging/social media connections that I have made.  AND let me just say that Patrick cannot wait for book 3 to come out! Me too.  Matt is an incredible writer that I will always get to say I knew back when...

Check out Patrick's kick-butt reviews for Exiled and Shift.

Matt is running a GIVEAWAY right now for SIGNED copies of both his books.  There are two chanced to win.  Make sure you check it out on his blog here.

One last thing.  After I sat down from presenting these awards that day, the principal appeared next to me wanting to know HOW I just did that.  It was fabulous telling her, well I know these authors.  Might have got some bonus points that day Daemon would be proud! (Need to have read Obsidian to understand that one).


  1. Wow, that is absolutely fantastic to hear. I love when children can find a way to get excited about books and reading. It also makes my heart happy to know that authors are just real people; I think sometimes we might all forget that at times :) Thank you so much for sharing such an inspirational story!

    Leila | The Fiction Pixie

  2. Awww, this is so nice!! The story of Cora is epic :) :) These are great things in life <3 Beautiful post! :) Enjoy!

  3. OH MY GOD!!!! This rocks!! THIS SIMPLY ROCKS!! T_T wish I had been a student of yours :'(
    I feel so happy after reading this post I'm not even going to pretend to make a good enough comment :D

    Here's my post, Bookpics is Talking Networking!

  4. That is an awesome way to network! I think with YA becoming more popular that it is an excellent way for teachers and students to connect.

    I can't believe you got them to review for you--that is beyond awesome!

  5. What great stories. Authors can be truly kind people, and it's nice that you can help facilitate that great connection between books and students.

  6. What a wonderful story!!! Your students must adore you. It's so great to see teachers who are actively encouraging their students to read. This is incredible!!! YOU are incredible!!! And yes, Daemon would be extremely proud of you. ;)

    I haven't read Matt's books yet, though I have talked to him on twitter a little bit. His books are very high up on my to-get list, that's for sure.

    Thank you so, so much for sharing your inspiring story with us!!! :)

  7. Jennifer Armentrout for the win! That story did it. I just went "Awwwww ♥" with the heart over here. I give you my gratitude for sharing this story. I want to meet your students someday. I bet they're awesome too!

    My not so awesome story
    And if you're still interested with my WoW

  8. Love to hear that you're encouraging young readers, especially since it's not even the subject you teach. Keep up the good work.

  9. That is so awesome! Not only has it enriched your own life, but you were able to just make those students so happy with your time and effort and the authors' generosity. So, so cool!

  10. What a great story, thanks for sharing it!

  11. It is amazing the great things you are doing for those kids!! I agree with you that Jennifer and Matthew are both awesome!! I love talking to them on twitter also!!

  12. I love the Cora story!! It is just so awesome. I really wish I had a teacher like you when I was in school. I did not read a single book all through high school. Its so sad. Such a great story.

  13. Hi,

    Thanks for the visit! Neat way of networking!


  14. What a fabulous gift you have given your students - you are the type of teacher we need more of!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  15. What a wonderful post, your gift to your students is something they'll never forget and the way authors interact with fans is something that should be put in the "I Want to be an Author" guidebook.


  16. This is so touching! I'm always glad to hear of kids who love reading. For some reason I keep thinking that kids just don't read these days, but then I hear stories like this and it warms my heart and gets me excited to know that kids really do read. I bet your students just adore you. Thank you for sharing this with us! :-)

  17. Working with authors is so great and these ones sound like really fabulous authors. Thanks for stopping by!