For an author, the chance to visit a school and read to
students is its own reward. Sharing your work and vision, seeing
kids experience your story – it’s hard to top.
I recently visited a local elementary school to share
Liz Tames a Dragon (and her Anger) with kindergarten through
third-grade students. Before the program
started, one parent remarked, ”My son has three
lively dragons.” Yes, that’s why I’m here, I told her.
“Has anyone ever tamed a dragon?” I asked the children.
Most shook their heads, though several claimed to have
Then I introduced Liz, my story character who has
trouble getting along with her little sister. The
character shouts and throws toys to express her
emotions. She feels herself morphing into an angry,
fire-breathing dragon. I asked the students, “How big does your
angry dragon grow?” They used their arms to indicate size, showing
long, tall dragons. The kids stomped around and showed
“That’s right,” I said. “Dragons breathe fire and stomp
around. And they do that over and over again. Dragons
aren’t very good at solving their problems. But smart kids
have many ways to solve their problems.”
In the story, Liz finds new ways to express herself. She takes a walk
to cool down, pays attention to her body’s physical cues, and starts
using calm words. Her happy sister proclaims, “You’re
the Queen of Dragon Tamers!”
I say, “Remember to slow down, do something that helps you feel
calm, use calm words, and you’ll be a dragon tamer, too.”
“I’m King of the Dragon Tamers!” the boys cried in
unison. “I’m Queen of the Dragon Tamers!” the girls
As I left the school, I knew my work made a difference.
If we believe in kids’ ability to develop self-control,
they’ll believe in it, too. And they’ll work harder at it.