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

OhOh Chicago!

Happy 2010 aka the Year of Lanie

Anyone who travels a lot knows the drill.  I was late leaving the house because my laptop caught a virus (ugh) and I had to quickly buy the netbook I’d been considering anyway.  Roads from Lawrence to Kansas City were clear enough, but I was low on gas and kept watching that arrow creep down.  Then the parking lot was full of snow!  I got stuck with the first spot I tried. Okay…I’ll admit it here: I sacrificed my scarf in my pioneer attempts to get out and try a new spot. (My Oregon grandparents were among the last of the homesteaders, after all.)

After the dash to the terminal, I found out the flight was delayed, anyway, so the new question became whether I’d make my connection in Minneapolis. Why was I going through Minneapolis?  Frequent flyer programs work, that’s why!

By the time I was on the plane, I realized my itinerary (including the name of the hotel in Chicago) was in my virus-attacked laptop.  Daughter to the rescue!  As I dashed down the long corridor between C and G in the Minneapolis airport, she looked up the information on my desktop at home.  How did frequent flyers ever live without cell phones?

I swept into Chicago a disheveled mess.  But oh…oh…Chicago.  All twinkly with white and red lights.  All bubbly with memories.  I was a dorky student teacher here.  (Even though I wasn’t an education major at Monmouth College in small-town Illinois, I was fascinated by both education and the big city.)  I got my first jobs here, including one in a downtown warehouse of a building for Mr. Teetlebaum.  I wrote a book about brave Frances Willard, who decided to learn to ride a bicycle when she was in her fifties and her skirts were down to her ankles…and got to introduce the book to kids at the Evanston library right across from the house where she lived.  I’ve had such great conversations here with parents who’ve adopted children from Ethiopia.  More…more…more.

The taxi dropped me at the door of the Ritz-Carlton. I wobbled into my room hungry and tired and found the welcome spread you can see in the picture.  Wow.   Does American Girl know how to treat a tired author right or what? 

At 1:00 I’ll walk to the American Girl store for my very first signing of the Lanie books.  I’ve been showing a blank cover for months during my school author visits.  Now I get to talk!

6 thoughts on “OhOh Chicago!”

  1. Hi Jane- Congrats on pushing through to Chicago, it sounds like an exciting day for you. RE the diversity conversation beginning, I am incredibly disappointed that the new American Girl of the Year is not a doll of color.

  2. Hi Mrs. Kurtz,

    My name is Blake and I am a big fan of your book, Meet Lanie. I live close to Chicago and found out that you were coming to sign books. Do you like Chicago? Unfortunately I can not come to the American Girl Store. I was wondering if you sign books through the mail? I would happily pay for it. I hope you like your trip in Chicago and hope you come back. Thanks!



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