November 22, 2011
Okay, not a tour exactly, but still, two cities in a week. That’s something, right?
First up was the Miami Book Fair. Who knew it was like the biggest book fair in the country? Anyhow, I was invited to go down and do school visits for a couple of days as part of the fair. It was totally fun, the kids were fantastic. As usual, I asked them to come up with their own titles for books they would want to read. Here are some good ones:
THE SHUT-UP LADY
THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF WACKY HAIR DO’S
HOW TO MAKE YOUR PARENTS DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU
CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO NOT DOING MATH
THE DOG THAT ATE THE CAT
THE PIECE OF CHEESE THAT HAD A DREAM ABOUT A PEANUT
I told the kids I’d be stealing their ideas and making a million dollars. They didn’t like that very much. But they were good with a 50-50 split.
Next up was Chicago for the NCTE, which I was hoping stood for National Cupcake Tasting Exhibition, but which actually stood for National Council of Teachers Of English.
I was on a panel called “Getting Reluctant Readers to Turn The Page,” and I was completely honored to be sharing the stage with Janet Tashjian and John Coy, two fantastic writers.
We had a great time even though the moderator kept referring to “Christopher Joe Jackson.” I decided to add Christopher to the next book as Charlie Joe’s long-lost brother. The moderator was good with a 50-50 split.
Then I went off to sign copies of the book. Meeting all the teachers and hearing that they didn’t hate the book was a thrill. Here’s a pic of me and one of the conference attendees, just after I won one of NCTE’s more obscure awards, Forehead Of The Year:
Another fun part of NCTE was meeting other authors. I got to meet Kiki Hamilton, another 2011 debuter who’s got a wonderful book out called The Fairie Ring.
The rest of my responsibilities at NCTE consisted of eating good meals, drinking good drinks, and enjoying good company. It was hard but I managed.
The week was a blast. Exhausting, but a blast. The people at Roaring Brook/Macmillan – Nan, Lizzy, Lucy and Emily – are total pros and made me feel like a big shot, even though we all know I’m a small to medium shot at best. But so what? Meeting the adorable kids in Miami and the passionate teachers in Chicago is pretty much what being a children’s author is all about.
That, and the free Sprite on the plane.