My first reading close to my Swiss hometown: all 30 chairs at the Bistro Bechandra in Elgg were taken.
What are the most touching moments during the readings of children’s books?
My very special moments are when small girls and boys start telling things like about a cat, who came to their house, who did this and that and how that felt or like today, how a small boy told a long, long story with plenty of unimportant details about moving and so on in order to reveal at the end how it was that the cat purred.
It is amazing to realize that my story about the boy Leonard and the cat named Loulou resonates with children.
But not only with children… Another touching moment was when an adult told me at my very first reading that my story reminded her so much of her beloved dog from childhood that she was moved to tears. Or one colleague bought my story because when he was a kid, his cat always walked him to school as Loulou does with Leonard in my story.
Today, at my first reading close to my Swiss hometown Winterthur, I didn’t expect a big audience. Fifteen minutes before the start, half of the restaurant was full of joyful, small and big children and even elderly people, and at the start, all 30 chairs were taken.
What a moment to stand in front of this big audience and to see all these open eyes and minds to listen to me!
I’ve been reading stories to children since many years. My two boys, now 13 and 15 and in puberty, listened to me every night. We read together so many books, we read all books written by Astrid Lindgren. We travelled with Jim Knopf and Lukas, the train conductor. We suffered with the figures of Brother Grimm, and when we didn’t have a book at our hands, I started inventing stories about an elephant who was too big because he loved eating, and how many times, my boys told me to continue the story about Frederic, the elephant.
Reading to a big audience like today is completely different. It is strange because I am not that close to the children and I cannot feel exactly how they perceive the story. That’s why I love to ask questions in between in order be able to hear what they have understood and what they have been thinking of it.
One thing I was reassured of today: Animals like cats and dogs have such a big impact on people’s lives.
It gives so much color to my life with my two sons. Besides, our cat story only started five years ago with two cats. Then, Loulou joined us, gave birth to four babies. We kept two of them. Meanwhile, we only have three cats because one of the babies decided to stay at the neighbor’s house. I could tell so many stories about our cats, how they disappeared, how we found them again, how many dead mice, but even more living mice had visited us, and how many of them, I had to catch. Funny moments, I can tell!
The sequel to the first book won’t talk about mice but will be the story about «Leonard and Lea», and there will be a dog playing a big role together with the cat Loulou. The story is already complete in my mind, and more than three-quarter of it written down. As soon as I have some quiet moments without running after mice, I will get it finished.