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

Missouri and NYC and Chicago and Denver oh my

Luckily for me, I saw trees everywhere I went in this wild past few weeks that started with a young author conference in Kirksville, Missouri.  The thrilldom of these conferences is introducing rooms full of young readers to Ethiopia and to Lanie’s story.

After the banquet that night, I had to drive through the night to a hotel near the Kansas City airport and get up before light to fly to New York City.  As I walked to sign at the American Girl store in the middle of bustling Manhattan, trees and flowers made me calm and bright.

Home for two days.  My granddaughter has deep belief in the power of words, I guess: when she saw this rope hanging from a tree (left) in the back yard, she asked me how to spell words so she could write a note (for the universe? for her grandpa?)  “Please make a string and a tire”–so that rope could be turned into a swing.

Off to LA to sign in the American Girl store–smack in the middle of a tree-and-flower place unlike Minneapolis with its swirling rides outside the window or NYC with street vendors selling pretzels–and meet Lanie fans at the LA Times Book Festival.  The festival was PACKED, the children’s stage bouncy with rappers and singers and dancers, but my heart sang to see the boy on the edge of all the bustle, reading in a tree.

Home?  Oh no…not yet.  I flew from LA to Chicago where thousands of teachers gathered for the International Reading Association’s annual conference.  Oops.  No pictures of trees.  I did love sitting at Anderson’s Bookstore booth with my brother, who was signing The Pup Who Cried Wolf for the first time.  I also loved meeting this Lanie doll (and her girl) who came to the signing.

Next stop?  Denver and Boulder for an Ethiopia Reads (www.ethiopiareads.org) fundraiser built around Meet-the-Author-of-Lanie’s-stories.  Girls (and boys) and their families came to hear how I crafted the stories.  They heard about how, just by being part of the event, they were helping children in Ethiopia delight in books, just as they delight in books.  In Boulder, I got to meet some great American Girl fans and see (again) the teeny, cute camper that inspired details for Lanie’s camper while I was writing.

Big mistake on this trip: leaving the cable to connect my camera and my computer.  I’m SO behind with my blog.

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