“Preparing for a Children’s Book Event” / Scott Keen

(Scott Keen is the author of YA fantasy novels Scar of the Downers (WiDo Publishing, 2015) and Rise of the Branded (WiDo Publishing, 2017). He blogs at ScottKeenBooks.com. This post originally appeared on his website and appears here with his permission.)

Recently, I attended the “Ready Set Fun! Bookfest” hosted by the local PBS station. There were lots of children and adults, and many booths. I brought my own children, who loved the afternoon.

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​​The turnout was great and I was able to meet a number of nice people. I even sold a few books!
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​Each booth was to have games or activities that would engage children. Since my books are fantasy novels, the task of creating activities based on my books seemed daunting. What was I going to do? How would I use it as a tie-in for my novel?

With the help of my brilliant wife (who actually took the lead in creating these activities), we were able to produce several different things.

  1. We created a maze that told the story of Scar of the Downers. Each stop through the maze gave an excerpt from the book, telling the reader what Crik had gone through in that certain place.
  2. Another activity we came up with involved using one’s own imagination. A few years ago, I asked an artist to draw up some sketches of a couple of fantastical characters in the book. I sent her a description, and she used that description to create a rendering. The kids had the same descriptions and were required to use their own interpretation to draw their own characters (we had a basket of markers and pencils on the table).
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​I also developed a few questions kids should ask themselves if they wanted to write their own books and create races of their own. You can check out some of the questions below:
Fantastical Character Creation Worksheet

Every fantasy novel needs fantastical characters!  To create the characters in your fantasy novel, here are a list of questions to get you started.

1. Where does your character live?

2. What does your character look like?

3. What about your character’s physical appearance helps it survive in its environment?

4.  What is unique to your character’s kind or culture?

5. How did this character’s kind come into being?

6. Does your character have a special power?

7. If so, how did they acquire this special power?

8. How did the character get where he is today?

Overall, it was a fun experience and I was glad to have been invited. I also came to the realization that in this day and age, as an author I need to have a way to accept credit cards. So, that’s what I’m doing now – figuring out how to get a card reader for our cell phone.  I have another book signing event The Thousand Island Book Festival in a week or so… I’ll let you know how it goes if I ended up using it there.

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