The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Celebrating May from new American Girl stores to…

After such a swirly spring, I’m home celebrating the spirit of adventure and new ventures.  A few years ago, my brother and I took 8 teachers to Ethiopia for a teacher-to-teacher sharing.  Out of that came a Fulbright-Hayes grant, awarded to K-State (alma mater of one of the 8 teachers).  I’m hard at work lining up interesting experiences in Ethiopia for 12 adventuresome teachers for July.  (Signed copies of Lanie still at for some gorgeous and fascinating photos of that last time I traveled to Ethiopia with teachers.

In other news…a new American Girl store in my back yard!  I already had a lovely tea party and signing in the Kansas City area.  This store will be a huge hit.

Middleton, WI—May 17, 2010: American Girl®, a division of Mattel, Inc., today announced plans to open its newest experiential retail store at Oak Park Mall, the premier regional mall in the Kansas City metropolitan area located in Overland Park, Kansas.

New adventures are bubbling out of an author presentation I did in Portland in May (with my brother) at a very cool gardening school.  I got a chance to meet one of the real champions of orangutans–a young starfish thrower who spoke with great poise about orangutans.  She’s making a difference in the world.  Ditto with the teacher who set up the visit and who is buying a classroom set of my brother’s novel (just released in May) to continue her work of getting kids excited about reading.

And the last thrilldom tidbit?  A birthday!  Wowee three.  Back in Ethiopia, where my grandson’s mom grew up, I don’t know whether birthdays are such a big deal.  (Hiwot sure wasn’t picky about getting the number of candles right.)  But daycare is full of birthday talk.  (In fact, whenever we offended my granddaughter this spring, she said, “You’re not invited to my birthday party.”)  So around here, birthdays are as big as it gets.

1 thought on “Celebrating May from new American Girl stores to…”

  1. Hi Jane, Thank you for leaving your comment on my blog. Ben and I love your book “Fire on the Mountain,” and my niece is a huge Lanie fan! I would be happy to help answer any questions about Birmingham and give any advice regarding best location/schools, etc. As for Birmingham in general, it is a very diverse city. There are many different cultures and acceptance is high. It is not what people typically think of when they think of “racist” Alabama. Everyone has been extremely accepting and aside from the occasional stare in Wal-mart, we have had no trouble whatsoever! The city itself is really a perfect size in regards to traffic, entertainment, parks, etc. We have everything one might hope for in a city. (I am biased in this opinion though ;)). Please feel free to email me or have your son email me with any specific questions.


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