Today I stood before the many fine students of Cedar Valley Elementary in Killeen, TX. I met so many great kids and answered questions about writing, special effects, and (for those who’ve seen my recent show), donkeys! I was pleased to receive an overwhelming response when I asked how many students enjoyed writing his or her own stories—my biggest response of the year!
I was especially fortunate to meet two exceptional young writers. Mrs. Osborne made a point to introduce me to Margaret and Timothy, two winners of the Take 190 West Writing Competition. Of all 5th graders entered in the district, Margaret won 1st and Timothy came in 3rd. Great job, you two! I was also pleased to learn that Margaret enjoys one of my all time favorite authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Thanks to Mrs. Knopp for inviting me and for the use of her library. Thanks to Mrs. Bzoski for her help and for her generous gift of a funky cool hat (it may turn up in a show sometime soon). And a big thanks to all the students at Cedar Valley Elementary. Be sure to read some of those Wishbone books in the library. They’re are written by many fine authors and there’s even my very first Wishbone book, Digging to the Center of the Earth.
Today I had a fun author visit at Reinhardt Elementary in Rockwall, TX—home of the Reinhardt Rockets! I had an opportunity to meet every student in the school but 4th grade (hope you guys had fun on your field trip). I even had lunch with the 5th and 6th grade book club members! I had fun eating and chatting with 5th graders: Alex, Bailey, Cheyenne S., Faith, Kavya, Rachel, and Stephanie (thanks for the wonderful thank you note, Kavya & Rachel) and 6th graders: Cheyenne B., Kensey, Lizzy, Madison, Maci, and Shelby. What a great way to spend lunch!
Thanks to Mrs. Figert and the Reinhardt PTA for inviting me. And thanks to all the Reinhardt students and teachers for being such wonderful audience members. Keep blasting toward the stars, Reinhardt Rockets!
This week I traveled all the way to Jackson, Alabama. As soon as I pulled into Jackson, I zipped downtown to marched in Jackson’s annual AR parade. Every year, all of the JISD’s accelerated readers get honored with their very own parade through downtown Jackson! I marched with 1st Grade and had a great time. I met several great readers, all the way up to high school students.
When the parade was over, I visited my very first Alabama school, Gilmore Elementary. I had a fun time during the show and enjoyed signing tons of books for some of the politest students I’ve met. There were so many “yes, sir’s” and “thank you, sir’s” that it sounded like I was in the army.
Thanks to Mrs. South for inviting me to her school and to be a part of the AR parade. Thanks to Mrs. McKenzie for helping me set up. And a big thanks to all the wonderful students at Gilmore Elementary. Keep reading!
The second school I visited in Jackson was Jackson Intermediate. Like Gilmore, JIS is full of great readers. There were tons of young writers, too! I let them know that the easiest way to become better writers is to do something they’re doing already—reading!
Thanks to Mrs. Wright for having me out. Thanks to Mrs. Rozier and Mrs. Fulmer for helping me set up. And a big thanks to all the great students at Jackson Intermediate. Keep up those great reading habits. See how many books you can read next year!
I ended this week’s trilogy of North Texas schools at Rasor Elementary in Plano, TX! They’re in the middle of renovations so I couldn’t perform in the library (the jackhammer was booming). Luckily, Mrs. Pickles (yes, that’s her real name), the music teacher switched with me and let me use her classroom. Sorry you had to deal with the jackhammer, Mrs. P! Otherwise, I had a great time with everyone. Many of the students were dressed as pirates for teacher appreciation week—where teachers are the treasure!
Thanks again to Mrs. Pickles for the use of her room. Thanks to Mrs. Battista and the Rasor PTA for inviting me. And a big thanks to all the students at Rasor Elementary. From some of their questions, I just know that I met a bunch of future writers during my visit!
Today I found myself at Cheatham Elementary in Allen, TX–home of the Chargers. CHARGE! I was welcomed by a banner signed by every student in the school. I wish I could say that everyone saw my show but second grade had a field trip today (sorry I missed you guys). I felt even more at home when I saw that most of the students wore his and her favorite hat to my show. I just had to get a shot with me and all of them (I’m the one in the hat, by the way).
Thanks to Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Barnes for helping me set up. Thanks to the Cheatham PTA and Mrs. Beaehner for inviting me, for the fun lunch, and for snagging a bunch of my favorite books for the school library. And a big thanks to all the Cheatham Chargers. Keep charging to the library for some exciting books—and not just mine!
Oh, and thanks for writing, Max!
I returned to Plano, TX and Renner Middle School for a full day of writing workshops. Throughout my travels, I’ve found that middle grade kids aren’t first to raise their hands for questions, but these kids had plenty of questions about reading, writing, and everything in between—from who’s my favorite superhero (Batman, of course) to what’s my favorite sport (like Garfield asks, is eating a sport?).
Thanks to Mrs. Nowlin for inviting me back and for the use of her library. And thanks to all the students a Renner Middle School. I enjoyed your creative questions but I must say that I enjoyed your Papier-mâché art a little bit more (the LEGO man and the ring pop are my favorites).
Today I zipped over to Shreveport, LA to have a fun author visit at St. Mark’s Cathedral School! I gave two shows to the K5-5th grade and a writing workshop for all the middle grade kids. Mrs. Beason just finished with a Scholastic book fair so I had a few of my Scholastic books to sign. Yay for LEGO City!
Thanks to Mr. Stubbs for helping me set up and to Mrs. Beason for inviting me (and for that spicy cajun lunch). And a big thanks to all the students at St. Mark’s! Keep reading, writing and remember the four words: “I Can Do That!”
I’ve been horseback riding through the Yukon territory in Canada but that casual pace was nothing compared to my whirlwind tour of Yukon, Oklahoma, thanks to the Yukon Reading Council! I appeared at seven schools in just THREE DAYS! Below are some fun pics from all of my shows!
Thanks to Mrs. Moore for inviting me and thanks to her and all the participating librarians for working with my scheduling conflicts, hosting me, and helping set everything up: Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Eskew, Mrs. Pennington, Mrs. Urton, Mrs. Schick, and Mrs. Wilmes. Thanks to all the other staff whom I met and helped prepare for my visit. Thanks to Zac for the cool story (keep writing, Zac!). And a big thanks to all the great kids in Yukon, OK! Remember what I said: the easiest way to becoming a better writer is to keep writing but also to … READ!
Surrey Hills Elementary
Sunset Ridge Elementary
After a postponement due to snow, I finally enjoyed my fifth trip to Kansas to visit a couple of great schools in Overland Park! My first stop was at Sunset Ridge Elementary. The students must’ve heard about my hat collecting since they helped put together a hat-tastic welcome banner. Even Mrs. Wagner the librarian sported her black fedora in my honor.
I gave two presentations to a very enthusiastic Kinder, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. But my day didn’t end there. After lunch I gave two writing workshops to half of the 4th and 5th graders. Just half, you say? That’s because I had to come back the next morning to give workshops to the other half. I enjoy what I do, but I need to rest a bit after an exciting day like that!
Thanks to Mrs. Helvey for inviting me and to Mrs. Wagner for helping me set up and for letting me use her library. And a big thanks to all the great readers and future writers at Sunset Ridge Elementary!
Blue River Elementary
After a morning of writing workshops at Sunset Ridge, I zipped over to Blue River Elementary for a tasty school lunch. It was during lunch that one of the students let slip that everyone had prepared a special surprise for me. It seems that they, too had learned about my hat addiction and all of the students fashioned their own hats in my honor. Each of them was labeled with my nickname, “Ant.” It looks like I have minions!
I was kept busy before and after my two presentations because I had to sign bunches of books–many of the students had ordered copies of LEGO City, Word Girl, and Penguins of Madagascar books!
Thanks to Mrs. Ward for having me out and for all the help setting up. And a final hat’s off to the students of Blue River Elementary! I hope you enjoy your books. And if you didn’t get a copy, I happen to know that Mrs. Ward had me sign some for the school library, too. Check them out before school’s out!
BF Kitchen Elementary
I left Texas in the spring and felt like I traveled back in time to the dead of winter when I arrived in Loveland, Colorado! Even though, I arrived in the middle of a snow storm, I had a warm welcome from the students and faculty at BF Kitchen Elementary. There was a lovely banner for me in the library and Mrs. Askham had tons of cool bookmarks for me to sign. During both shows, I received many insightful questions and discovered that there were many young writers in the school–keep writing, Eli!
Thanks to Mrs. Askham for the use of the library and to Mr. Blick for helping set up for my show. A big thanks to Mrs. Endres for inviting me and a super-big thanks to all the great students at BFK!
After lunch with Mrs. Endres, I zipped over to Ponderosa Elementary–home of the Pandas! I gave two shows to a packed gym then got a chance to answer even more questions from Mrs. Midgett’s class. Not only did they have some great questions about writing but also about special effects, too!
Thanks to Mr. King for helping me set up and for all his support through some technical difficulties. Thanks to Mrs. Midgett for inviting me and for letting me spend some extra time with her class–I hope you enjoy the King Julien book. Don’t let Mrs. Midgett keep it all to herself!
Family Literacy Night
My day didn’t end there, after a quick trip to the hotel to freshen up, I zipped over to Namaqua Elementary for the district’s Family Literacy Night. There I put on my show for parents and students alike. I made sure the kids moved down to the front row because the show is really for them (even though I think the parents were eavesdropping).
After my show, I signed some books and gave a brief workshop to some students who seemed eager to learn about writing. I’m glad you got a chance to look at my TV and movie scripts up close and I hope you keep reading AND writing!
Thanks to all the Literacy board (Jessica, Pam, Barb, Barb, and Connie) for inviting me and for a lovely dinner the night before. Thanks to Mr. Beuke for the use of his school and a big thanks to all the kids and parents who braved a snowy night to see my show.
Stansberry Elementary http://www.stansberryelementary.org
My final day in this winter wonderland found me at Stansberry Elementary. I was a little late because I forgot to allow time to de-ice my car (did I mentioned that I came from 85º weather?). When I did arrive, I was delighted to see that everyone had dressed up for my appearance. But then I found out that it was school picture day instead. Still, I had a fun time giving two presentations. I went without the mic for the first show. But after my voice squeaked on the higher notes, I opted for a little help front the PA system during the second show. All those presentations and cold weather really add up.
Thanks to Mrs. McGee for having me out and to Mr. Blee for helping me set up (don’t worry; no one touched the screen). And a super-dee-duper thanks (as Barney would say) to all the smartly-dressed students of Stansberry Elementary!
And another big thanks to the Literacy board for inviting me to Colorado! Unfortunately, my drive out looked a lot like my drive in. I hear that you have some beautiful mountains around here someplace. I can’t wait to come back so I can catch a glimpse of them!