In May 2013, I read Centipede Dragon A Benevolent Creature to 21 kindergartners. Ms. D-, their teacher, had prepped them for my visit so that on the day I walked into their classroom, there was a sudden whoosh! of children assembling around me, ready for a good storytelling.
In my opinion, the true test for anything in life is to vet it through a 5-year old. Kids in this age range see the world with a clarity not clouded by personal experience. They keenly observe and unequivocally question. They laser-point out a hole in your plot like nobody's business. They are not concerned with YOU, they are concerned with your character. A kid will also tell you what you should change in your book. Keep in mind, it's nothing personal, as the next moment will be snack time, and then, nap time.
Ms. D- then had them draw pictures and describe their favorite part in the book, or, ask me a question. She gave these to me, and the feedback from that one school visit was so insightful, that I'll highlight in future posts how many influenced and improved my book.
Here’s a brilliant pic by Gigi. In the next post I'll present Gigi’s question and my response!