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This isn't a big deal to a lot of authors out there, but to some of us, it's downright terrifying. We don't have kids ourselves or we're just not all that great in off-the-cuff social situations, and the idea of having to talk one-on-one with a kid is kind of scary. Some of us aren't fazed by chatting with kids, but aren't entirely sure what to talk about. Some kids are naturally chatty, and you'll find yourself barely getting a word in, but others? They might be shy or in awe or not all that comfortable talking to adults. So what do you do?
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2) Ask them about their favorite book or a recent book they read. If the kid is coming up to you, chances are he's a reader. It's so wonderful to see a quiet kid light up when you ask him about his favorite book. If you've read it, you can chime in. And if you haven't, you can talk about similar books.
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4) Ask the child if she writes. A lot of kids are budding authors, and they love nothing more than to tell you about their stories.
5) Pull in something from your presentation. This works especially well at school visits. You can ask the child about specific things you mentioned in your presentation. Things like, "What was your favorite part?" or "What would you do if ...?" work really well.
6) When all else fails, talk about your books. Seriously. But keep the pitches short and sweet (like, a sentence or two). Then you can ask the kid a question related to the book. For Out of Tune, I'll say something like, "This book is about a girl who wants to be a singer, but her family sells everything to live in this ugly trailer and travel the country. She has to find a way home to try out for a singing show. Do you like to sing?"
Do you have any tips for talking to kids at events? If so, leave them in the comments. And happy chatting!