“How long does it take to write a book?”
“How did you come up with the idea for Cheesie Mack?”
Those are not surprising. But I also always get questions you might not expect:
“How old are you?” (I award a Georgie 4 President sticker if the questioner can guess my age within ten years. Their answers have ranged from 16 to 96!)
“Are you rich?” (Often this question is disguised…e.g., “What model car do you drive?”)
Last week, at a Virginia school, a fourth-grade girl asked the wealth question, and something made me ask back, “What do you mean by ‘rich’?” I thought I was asking her to come up with a number, perhaps a million…or ten million. But she surprised me with a more thoughful and moving response.
“Well,” she said with no hesitation, “there are two kinds of ‘rich.’ Money and happiness. Are you rich in both?”
I stared, dumbstruck for a moment.
“I’ve been to 291 schools across the country where I get to meet wonderful students like you and your friends,” I responded. “As for happiness, I have more than I could spend in ten lifetimes.”
Then I asked her name, asked her to stand, and asked for a hug.
Finally I told her J.K. Rowling and Jeff Kinney are rich with money. Me? Not so much.