We received the nicest letter today from our pen pal Jane in Michigan. Years ago, Jane was inspired by our book Shall I Knit You a Hat? to--you guessed it--knit hats, which she gave to University of Michigan's Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.
Well, it turns out Jane has now made almost two HUNDRED hats for the youngest patients. Isn't that amazing?
Hats off to JANE! We want to visit Jane and her young friends sometime in Ann Arbor. (I was a knitting demon as a kid, but as an adult, I've forgotten how to cast on. I bet Jane can teach me.)
I'm going to hire my sister Sarah and nephew Milo to paint a wall of bunnies for me, like this wall in the Terrace Cafe at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Isn't it fabulous?
Thanks to the Illinois School Library and Media Association for naming STAY: A Girl, a Dog, A Bucket List to your 2019 Monarch Award Master List!
I wrote that book while staying at Queset House in North Easton, Massachusetts, as writer-in-residence for the Ames Free Public Library. So thanks to my friends there, too!
You children are too young to remember, but many of us who grew up with the Jackson 5 loved the song "Goin' Back to Indiana." I've been thinking about that song this week while visiting schools in Indiana. My first stop was Franklin Elementary School in Vincennes. (Thanks to my over-the-top generous friends Joanne and Ed who made this trip possible.) Franklin Elementary looks like the kind of school I grew up attending: a handsome old brick building with wide hallways and old-timey doors and fixtures. If I were a movie director, I would use it as a film set. I spent the morning writing stories with the fifth graders, who--let me tell you--spun pure gold. I can't wait to see what kind of books they write over spring break! From Vincennes, I traveled to Lawrenceburg, a small town that has a LOT going for it: a hopping downtown and a supercool library, to name just two things. (Note: They're offering free ukulele lessons and free CPR classes at the library this summer!) I spent Thursday and Friday with the Lawrenceburg middle, elementary, and primary school readers and writers. Once again, they wowed me with their ideas, and I guarantee I will spend the weekend laughing about the 2nd grader who provided me the best OH NO! face of the week. Thank you, Indiana. I can't wait to come back and visit sometime! I am thankful--and thinkful (great word!)--for the friends I made this week.
Thank you, Mykele, for this lovely poster for Secrets of the Circus! You noted that "the conflict of this story is Mr. Farley owes Penelope Prinkle money, but Mr. Farley doesn't have enough money to give her." Ahh, follow the money is right! You get an A+ from us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Judy Freeman for recommending STAY in her latest What's New in Children's Books. And even more thanks to the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) for naming STAY a Notable Children's Book for 2018. "Notable" is defined by ALSC as "worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding." Wow! We'll take that in a heartbeat. Thanks, friends!
I woke up today to a story on BBC Radio about how more than half the jobs we know today will be done by robots in less than 30 years. So what's left? What should the next generation of adults be learning now so they'll be able to land jobs and find meaning and contribute to the world? Experts agree. Young people need to learn how to do all things robots can't do, which means they need to harness their powers of creativity, collaboration, and compassion--which, weirdly enough--were exactly the things we focused on yesterday and today at the Literacy and Beyond confab at the University of Western Georgia .
Speaking of creativity, collaboration, and compassion, look at my new pal Ellie above. She could be the poster girl for all three.
Thanks UWG and Cherokee Writing Project for inviting me to keynote the conference and lead a few workshops. Wouldn't have missed a chance to meet all y'all (see, I can speak Southern) for the world.