School Visit Vicissitudes

Cynthia Compton - February 19, 2020

Dear Families at Avondale Elementary,

We are excited to welcome author Joy Storyteller, who will be visiting the third and fourth grades on February 13th. Joy is the New York Times bestselling author of four very popular middle grade books, and she will be speaking with the students about writing as part of their current unit on myths and legends. We are honored to have such a nationally known author visit our school, and thank our PTO for the generous grant that makes this special experience possible for our students. Ms. Storyteller will also answer student questions about her much beloved titles, and preview her soon-to-be-released book, “The Very Best Dragon Adventure,” which will be available in May.

As part of her visit, we have partnered with local bookstore 4 Kids Books & Toys, who will provide discounted books for sale to be autographed by the author at her visit. If you would like your student to have a book signed, please complete and return the order form below. Payment can be sent with the form, or you can call the store directly to pay by credit card. Books will be delivered to school for the author’s visit, and sent home with students after the signing that day. (Note: only the four already published books are available for signing. The new release, which will be available in May, will not be signed, as we don’t have copies until the release date.)

Please fill out the form below with your student’s name, their homeroom teacher, and indicate which books you would like to purchase. Note that the books are available in both hardcover and paperback, except the new release in May, which can only be pre-ordered in hardcover. Please include your email address for the bookstore to send you a receipt, and cash or a check for payment. If you would like to pay by credit card, please check that box on the form and the store will send you a secure link via email to process your payment, or you can call the store and pay over the phone. All orders of the May release will be shipped or can be picked up at the store, and you can indicate your preference below.

Note from School Media Specialist:

Dear Cynthia,

Here are the order forms for Joy’s visit – we are so excited! Unfortunately, three of our teachers in the fourth grade misplaced the order forms, and so they were not sent home with the students. I suggest that you just send some extra copies to school that day, in case of last-minute orders. Also, I am enclosing the cash and checks collected, but some of the checks are made out to school. Is that ok? I didn’t count the cash. We will also want to order copies for the library and some of the classrooms. Will there be an additional discount for those books?

Will you be staying for the event? It would be easier if you could be here to deal with any issues with orders. Thanks so much!

Sandra, Avondale Elementary Media Specialist

Reply Email from Bookseller:

Hi, Sandra!

Thanks so much for the orders. We’ll get right to work processing these, and I will deliver them two days before the event, to give you time to sort the orders by homeroom. Of course, I’m happy to come to school and stay for the event if you would like me to do so. Do you have a student or teacher selected to introduce the author, or would you like for me to do that? You can let me know at the event, and we’ll jump in an assist in any way possible.


Cynthia at 4 Kids Books

Staff note from Cynthia: Here are the forms for the Avondale Elementary visit. Please process, sort books by student, and leave any forms with questions on top for me to follow up. We should have enough copies from the publisher, but if it’s looking short, add a few to tomorrow’s Ingram order. Process cash payments as sales today, add checks to the daily deposit, and start a spreadsheet for credit card orders. Thanks for your extra work on this – feel free to order lunch on me today (there’s a pizza coupon in the drawer).

Form #1:

Dear Bookstore: Enclosed is my student’s order for the new book. We already have the first one, so my daughter will be bringing that for Joy to sign. We would like her to sign the newest book – my daughter’s birthday is in May, so that’s perfect. Have her write: To Hallie, on her 8th Birthday. I wrote this just for you! Love, Joy Storyteller

Form #2:

Please explain how this will work. When do we get the books? Does my student need to bring them to school? Will the author sign them? Is there a cost for this event?

Form #3:

My son hates to read. Is this required? Will there be a grade?

Form #4:

I would like all the books in hardcovered paperback, and have them signed to all the kids in the family. (store staffer note: no kids’ names are included) Please put this on our Activity Account. (store staffer note: WHAT?)

Form #5:

We want paperback copies of all 5 books. I will send a check. Please total the cost and let me know.

Form #6:

Will these books be available at the book fair? Do we get them free if we have a book fair coupon from the ReadaThon?

Form #7:

Is this author Christian?

Form #8:

Thanks for making this experience available to our kids! We will order the books online and bring them to school.

Form #9:

I want my son to have two of the books, but I don’t know which ones he hasn’t read. Please get him those. (store staffer note: We are going to need more pizza.)

Form #10:

We didn’t know about this event – did it already happen? My daughter is SO DISAPPOINTED. Communication is very poor, and we are very upset that she didn’t have the opportunity to participate. You should have a website for things like this, and parents should get more information. This is why we don’t read the newsletter, because nothing is ever said. You have our phone numbers, so why don’t you text us? Also, this is public school. I pay taxes. Why should this cost more money? (store staffer note: Cynthia, can you call her? The author visit is next week. We are not sure what to say.)

Delivery Note to School Media Specialist (taped on box with books)

Dear Sandra,

We are all set, and very excited for your event this week! You should have all the books that were pre-ordered, and they are labeled with post-it notes with each student’s name. We have included an extra case of each title for last-minute orders, and I will be there an hour before the event to help you set up. I can process last minute credit card payments onsite, or my staff can contact those families after the event for payment. We appreciate your hard work in coordinating this visit, and thanks for the opportunity to be your bookseller!


Cynthia @ 4 Kids Books

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About Cynthia Compton

Cynthia is the owner of 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Indiana, a 2600 sq. ft. childrens store founded in 2003. She serves on the board of the American Booksellers Association, is a past president of the Great Lakes Bookseller Association, and is a former member of the American Specialty Toy Retail Association board of directors. 4 Kids was honored with the Pannell Award in 2013 and has received numerous "best of" awards in the Indianapolis area. The opinions expressed in her posts are her own, and sometimes those of her english bulldogs.

3 thoughts on “School Visit Vicissitudes

    1. Cynthia Compton Post author

      Thanks for your kind comment, Donna. We are laughing through our tears sometimes, but when we actually get the author and the kids together in a room, some kind of magic happens, and we forget all about the lost order forms and the cash total that never quite makes sense.

  1. Donna Gephart

    Absolutely! And it feels that way on the author’s end of things, too. You forget about the delayed plane flight, the lost baggage, the traffic, etc. because it’s all about the magic, the meaningful connection that happens in that space with the students.


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