Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Greetings from Ottawa, Kansas

This is the eleventh year of the Franklin County Children's Literature Festival. I was one of the authors at the first-ever festival, and now I'm back at the festival again. Last night was the opening banquet to thank the amazing number of local donors who help to fund the event, including, I must say, Walmart (to the tune of a generous $5000). It was also a tribute to the festival's founder, Gerry Getty, a teacher with a big dream who had so much faith in her dream that "you couldn't say no to Gerry." She lived to see the festival blossom and take root, but died a few years ago. The festival every year is dedicated to her.

Co-organizer Vickie Hall, who gave the tribute to Gerry last night, reminded the audience of "the power of one." One person. One idea. One example of exceptional persistence.

Today I'll speak to four groups made up of students from all over Franklin County - a thousand students attending the festival, in all. Each author speaks to four groups of children, grades three through five. Each child gets to hear four different authors: different genres, different approaches, different stories. This successful structure was inspired by the format of the mother-of-all-children's-literature-festivals that I'll be attending next week in Warrensburg, Missouri. Now it's blooming big time here in Franklin County, Kansas.

Thanks for making this happen, Gerry Getty.

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