“July? Seriously?” he asked me.
“Yes, bud, July,” I answered.
“Are you sure?” Because he’s an all-knowing sixth grader and I’m just the teacher, he needs to double-check this.
“Well, I went to Heather Brewer’s website and it says pretty clearly that Tenth Grade Bleeds comes out July 9th.” I can say this without even a trace of sarcasm because I’ve had five years of practice.
“Man! July? I won’t even be in your class then!”
“You’ll still be allowed to read it,” I assured him.
“I know – but then we can’t talk about it. Man.” Student hangs his head, sighs, heads back to his desk and picks up his reading response journal.
A few minutes later he’s popped back over to visit. “I thought of two things.”
“Well, maybe she’ll write faster and it will be out sooner.”
“What’s the second thing?” I asked, not wanting to get into a whole discussion on the publishing industry.
“We can e-mail. But you have to promise to buy the book and read it.” He’s serious.
“Bud, did you think I wouldn’t buy the book and read it?”
“No, I know you will, but you need to buy it ON July 9th. Don’t make me wait this time.”
“Deal,” I agree and we shake.
So, on July 9th, do not call, text, e-mail or tweet at me. I’ve got a date with a vampire named Vlad and then an important e-mail to answer.
If, however, in the month since his elementary graduation, my dear reading buddy has become too 7th-grade-cool to e-mail his former teacher about books – then please call, text, e-mail AND tweet to cheer me up (and talk about the book!).
It’s Monday morning and I’m grinning and bouncing in the hallways waiting for my students to arrive. This is not my typical Monday-morning attitude and no, I haven’t had an extra cup of coffee. I’m impatiently-excited because I’ve finally gone out and bought the copy of Ninth Grade Slays that one of my students has been begging for for weeks.
I’d given him Eight Grade Bites by Heather Brewer and he’d read it in two days – “Where’s the sequel?”
“I don’t have it yet, bud,” I answered.
“When are you going to get it?”
“Um…” I mentally replayed the do-you-know-how-much-money-you’ve-spent-already-this-year-on-books conversation I’d had with Matt the night before.
“Um….” And-by-this-year-I-mean-this-year-2009-not-this-school-year. “Soon?”
And so started a refrain of: “Did you get it yet?”
It even became accusatory, “I don’t think you’re a real fan!”
So on Valentine’s Day when Husband took me to the bookstore and told me to pick out what I wanted, I knew that Ninth Grade Slays was going to be in the stack.
And that brings us back to my bouncing Monday. I read the book Valentine’s night (that’s the thanks poor Husband gets for his gesture – a super-romantic night of reading!) and had already strategically placed on my student’s desk so he’d see it first thing.
I was beaming like a two-year-old with a sticker when he walked down the hall. I met him at the door: “Good morning, buddy!”
And he was glowing too. “Good morning, Mrs. Schmidt. Did you have a good weekend?”
“I did, but we’ll share at class meeting,” I said, dismissing his attempts at a polite conversation because my gratification from seeing his face when he saw his desk was much more important. And since when was my buddy a morning person? He typically half-dozed until announcements came on. Why was he so cheerful? I shooed into the classroom so he could find his surprise.
I followed a few steps behind him: bounce, bounce, bounce. Ready to squeak and receive a loud THANK YOU!
And he walked right by his desk to his coat hook, oblivious but still smiling. Seriously? Does he mistake me for someone patient?
“Um, buddy?” I prompted, picking up the book and waiting for him to turn around after hanging his sweatshirt (this is 6th grade, we’re too cool for appropriate winter attire).
“Look what I got for you!”
Only, this wasn’t me speaking.
It was my buddy.
My student whirled around with his own copy of Ninth Grade Slays that he’d bought for me over the weekend.
I looked at what he was holding – he looked at what I was holding.
So now we’ve got two copies of Ninth Grade Slays (twice the Vlad love) and we’re rapidly recruiting new members into our fan club.
If you haven’t checked out this series yet, buddy and I encourage you to do so. But even though we have multiple copies now, you can’t borrow them – there’s a waiting list to read them.
You’ll have to get your own copy. Or better yet, buy someone else a copy – make his or her day by sharing the Vlad love.
Check back tomorrow for “Mad for Vlad: Part 2″