Tuesday, December 7, 2010

O-hi-o!

I spent last week in Upper Arlington, Ohio (a Columbus suburb). Buckeye country! The native Buckeyes were very kind to this Nittany Lion, though. I was welcomed to four different elementary schools in the district—Barrington, Windermere, Wickliffe, and Greensview. I was able to talk about Babymouse and Squish at each of the schools, and special treats awaited me at each one.

Barrington greeted me with a choral rendition of "This Is Babymouse." (I hope they post the video of the performance online; stay tuned.) At Windermere, I was accompanied in my presentations by ASL interpreters—who also had to, hilariously, help describe to me what some of the students wanted me to draw! Wickliffe Progressive kicked off the day with a whole-school assembly, replete with singing, "WELCOME" banners, and an opening speech by some of the kids.


And at Greensview, the principal kindly put his normal duties aside to escort me throughout the day (the librarian had an emergency and couldn't make it), including during a "meeting of the minds" luncheon with an essay-contest-winning student from each grade level.

The Upper Arlington News did a nice story on the visits:

Educators see many benefits to author-illustrator visits

Drawings hang in the Windermere Elementary School library with notes clinging off the edges that say things such as "I like Babymouse because she is funny," and "I like Babymouse because she day dreams and I do, too."

Students at Greensview and Wickliffe Progressive ask parents if they can have another copy of their favorite book so they can have it signed. They learn in class what kind of questions are appropriate to ask someone who, to them, is as famous as a movie star.

At Barrington students can barely sit still during math lesson because -- like Windermere, Greensview and Wickliffe -- they have a special guest coming to visit at any minute.

That special guest, and the reason for all the excitement, is Matt Holm, graphic artist for the popular children's book Babymouse....

Thanks, all, for the great visit!

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