I'm still in Olathe, Kansas, having a blissful time as the visiting author for the Families Read Every Day program, which provided my book Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters to 14,5000 children to read at home with their families over a two-week period.
A few favorite moments:
A question from a second grader on Thursday: "What would you do if you had a dream and it didn't come true?" (A good one to blog about, one of these days.)
A third grader's picture of Mason's pet Hamster dressed up as an artiste, complete with beret and easel, situated in a Parisian cityscape.
A display of children's lists (inspired from the clever back jacket copy for the book created by Nancy Hinkel at Random House) of what they like, dislike, and "aren't sure about." One girl listed "brothers and sisters" as what she dislikes (a story there, to be sure!), and as what she isn't sure about: "Growing up."
A visit to the Reading Reptile Bookstore, which furnished all the books for the event at cost. The store is crammed full of whimsical sculptures inspired by children's book illustrations, and exploding with creativity everywhere. If you go, check out the Cabinet of Wonders, whose drawers contain such treasures as "Toad's Buttons," "Cookie Cutters," "VERY NICE ROCKS!," and "Small Random Objects," which can be purchased for a nickel or dime. I bought a button for Toad.
A crowd of 270 children and their parents who came to see me at the main branch of the Olathe Public Library today: 30 had been expected. Some had been read the book by their parents or older siblings; others had read the book to their parents or younger siblings - whole families absorbed in sharing stories together.
And, of course, food, food, food, food, food! Tonight: tapas with some of the brilliant librarians who helped create the many activities for schools and parents to use with the book.
I told the families who waited in that long line to have me sign their books this afternoon that if an author died and went to Heaven, when she woke up it would look just like Olathe, Kansas.