Last month, a former high school classmate invited me to read my children's book for a literacy event at Kendrick Lakes Elementary School. I was all for it, except my book isn't published and hasn't gone through a formal editing process. My classmate said it didn't matter, she just wanted the kids to meet authors and hear their work. So I readily agreed to read Hedy and the Secret Shoes to the toughest imaginable audience.
Before reading, I shared some thoughts on writing in general and showed them one of the first stories I ever wrote called The Scariest Ghost. It's about a ghost who sneaks into shops to eat snacks at night. A third-grade girl commented that the story didn't sound scary at all. I agreed, "It's not." I didn't mention that in a perfect world ghosts eat snacks, not human souls.
Anyway, I launched into Hedy and the Secret Shoes and I could not have been more delighted by their response. They laughed at the jokes, cooed at the cuteness, and were in wonder with the final reveal. It doesn't matter how long it takes to get this story published, because the whole point is for it to reach kids, which it now has. And it was awesome.