Apr 30

Today was bam-bam-BAM! with three back-to-back morning shows at Fairview Heights Elementary in Hamlet, NC. I was on the big stage in the huge auditorium with all the Fairview Falcons cheering me on. It was hard to hear some of the questions in such a big venue so remember what I said: if you send me an email (ant@masteele.com), something cool with happen—I’ll write back!
After my shows, I had lunch with Mrs. Covington and her three library helpers: Darice, Ellie, and Lindsey. It was nice getting to know everyone and answer even more writing questions. After lunch, before heading out the door, I swung by Mrs. Peacock’s room to sign her special locker. It was a pleasure to place my name next to those of past visiting authors. Hey, Falcons, be sure to swing by yourselves and see what I wrote!
Thanks to Mrs. Covington for doing such a great job hosting her first author visit during her first year as a Librarian! Thanks to Mrs. Kirkland for helping set everything up. Thanks to Aleiah for the use of her guitar amp. And a big thanks to all the Fairview Falcons for giving me a welcome as big as your stage. I hope you enjoyed the show!

Apr 29

Today I enjoyed a fun day at Highcroft Drive Elementary in Cary, NC–home of the Huskies. I performed three shows and in front of energetic students with some very cool art backing me up. How cool is that?
Between shows I gave a writing workshop for many talented young 4th and 5th graders. They had some of the best writing questions yet. I hope you add my tips to your writing toolboxes and churn out some great stories soon! I know Payton already has; she told me about the book on her website: stickmousebooks.com. I just read it and really enjoyed it–very funny. Great job, Payton!
It was nice getting to know all of you: Abbey, Alivia, Alli, Arria, Avery, Cameron, Carleigh, Carter, Claire, Claudia, Cristian, David, Diya, Ella, Erin, Ethan, Evan, Gwen, Ian, Isha, Jay Young, Jenna, Jillian, Jonathan, Joshua, Katie H., Katie M., Keriann, Lauryn, Maiya, Marilyn, Matthew, Meg, Megan, Michael, Mihika, Natalie, Nathan, Nathanial, Owen H., Owen S., Payton, Rohin, Samantha, Samay, Sanjana, Sean, Srusht, Zach M., and Zach P.
Thanks to Mrs. Rotella for inviting me. Thanks to Mrs. Georges, Mrs. Welsch, and the rest of the PTA for having me out, lunch, the cool gift bag, and for being so helpful throughout the day. Thanks to Mrs. Welsh for the cool welcome banner and to Mrs. Finelli for the nice stage art. Thanks to Mr. Finelli for the use of his guitar amp–it worked great. Thanks to Mr. Thomas for the many introductions. Thanks to Mrs. Wetherell for the use of the library (along with the four library turtles). And a big thanks to all the Highcroft Huskies. Remember what I said and keep writing those stories!

Apr 28

Today I visited my very first school in North Carolina–Mineral Springs Elementary in Ellerbe, NC! My time with the Mineral Springs Bears was a great way to begin my NC tour. All the kids were excited, had great questions, made some of the more unusual animal noises during my song, and I even learned that their school colors are the same as my own school colors–purple and gold. How cool is that?
Between shows, I got to have lunch with some talented young readers and writers–two from each grade! I got to answer more questions, found out about their favorite stories, and watch Noah dip his chicken tenders into his sweet tea. Hey, we’re all different! Thanks for having lunch with me: Ashley, Diezel, Emma, Emoni, Jago, Mayra, Mia, Noah, Parker, Tanaja, and Tap!
Okay, you know there was a silly version…
Thanks to Mrs. Shepherd for inviting me to North Carolina and her wonderful school. Thanks to Ms. Fennell for helping with the sound equipment. Thanks to Neziyah for the my first NC fan letter (and cool hat drawing). And a big thanks to all Mineral Springs Bears for the warm welcome to your beautiful state!

Apr 25

I completed my exciting ArtBreak week in Shreveport by joining in the festivities on Saturday at the convention center. It was a great place to meet tons of young artists, musicians, and writers from all over Caddo Parish Public Schools and Bossier Parish Public Schools!
I began the morning with another writing workshop breakfast but this time at the Shreve Memorial Library. I saw some familiar faces and met many new young writers. I hope some of my writing tips not only help improve your work but also inspire you to write the story that’s been dying to get out. Remember what I said: if you’re writing … then you’re a writer!
After the workshop, I gave a brief presentation and then was fortunate to help hand out awards to many young readers, writers, and library helpers being honored that day. It was great meeting all of them and shaking their hands. Well done, everyone!
From there, I rushed over to the book fair booth so I could sign books for a long line of readers of all ages. It was a joy meeting so many of you, getting to speak with you briefly, and to have our picture taken together. What a fun way to end the week!
I want to thank Jennifer Nitz for driving me all over Shreveport all week, for dragging my gear bag through many campuses, and for sitting through my presentation countless times. She heard my show so often, that I wasn’t worried if I lost my voice; she could probably recite my show for me. Thanks so very much!
I also want to thank Cathy Smith for inviting me, organizing and arranging all my school visits, and for helping to make reading and writing a big part of ArtBreak 2015! I didn’t see as much of Cathy since she spent the entire week working tirelessly at the convention center. Thanks again for all your hard work. I know that all the students and parents thank you, too!
I also want to thank all the wonderful Caddo Parish Librarians! They were all amazing with their generous hospitality, entertaining stories, and educational discussions. I know that all the Caddo Kids are in great hands. Each and every one of my dinner and lunch companions made for a memorable week of school visits that’s going to be hard to beat! Thanks again for a truly amazing week!

Apr 24

My last two Shreveport visits for the school year started me at Pine Grove Elementary—home of the Elves! I had a nice breakfast with several Pine Groves students, signed a bunch of books, and gave two performances in front of lively audiences.
But this morning was unique because as the kids were filing in, Principal Henderson kicked out the jams, the kids all clapped to the beat, and the teachers danced. It was a great way to end the week when I got to see a show!
Thanks to Mrs. Bridges for having me out. Thanks to Mrs. Bridges and Mrs. Henderson for the lovely breakfast with Albert, Ariah, Carlyn, Jasmine, Kamille, Lakhia, Leroyaka, Loyal, Marquita, Mekayla, Torrence, and Xavien. Thanks to Mrs. Ester for creating the awesome welcome banner. And thanks again to Mrs. Henderson for the last minute mic stand save. And a big thanks to all the Pine Groves Elementary students. I had a fun morning kickin’ it with the Elves!
After the excitement at Pine Grove, Mrs. Nitz and I drove over to my last school of the week, Riverside Elementary—home of the Rams! We had a nice lunch with the superintendent himself, Dr. Goree, and then I gave two more performances and signed a bunch more books—all in front of giant-sized covers my own books. Very cool!
Thanks to Mrs. Cryer for having me out, for the great lunch, and for the welcoming decorations. And a big thanks to all the great students at Riverside Elementary. All of your Rams made it a great way to end a week of Shreveport school visits and I hope to see you all at ArtBreak tomorrow!

Apr 23

Today I was back to visiting Shreveport schools, starting with Arthur Circle Elementary, home of the Cougars! I performed two shows this morning to another great bunch of Shreveport students. Sorry that the 3rd graders had to leave before my silly song at the end (you’ll have to ask the other grades to teach it to you) but I’m sure you had an equally fun time at ArtBreak!
Thanks to Mrs. Howard for having me out. Thanks again to Mrs. Nitz for driving and taking pictures. And a big Barney, super-dee-duper thank you to all the courageous Cougars. I hope to see you again at ArtBreak this weekend!
Mrs. Nitz and I left Arthur Circle and zipped over to A.C. Steere Elementary–home of the Gators! After a tasty Italian lunch, I gave two more performances and signed a bunch of books where I got to meet many A.C. Steere Gators up close!
Now, I don’t know if it was the auditorium’s acoustics but the A.C. Steere Gators had to have, absolutely the loudest dragon roars that I’ve ever heard–and I’ve been to a ton of schools. I could barely hear when I left your school!
Thanks to Mrs. McInnis for having me out and for lunch. Thanks to Mrs. Smith for the ride back to the hotel. And a big thanks to all the very cool, and very loud, Gators. I guess that a gator is close enough to a dragon, right? Because you really knew how to roar!

Apr 22

As part of the ArtBreak 2015 festival, I spent the day with some talented junior high and high school students for a fun writing workshop! I’m sure they could tell right away why I’m a writer and not an illustrator when I showed them some pictures (albeit crude ones) that would help them remember some of the many writing tips I had to share. I hope they found them as useful as I did when they were given to me by many editors, teachers, and fellow writers over the years.
Thanks to Mrs. Smith and the good people at artBreak! for inviting me. Thanks to Mrs. Nitz and all the librarians who stayed to help. And a big thanks to all the young writers and readers who hung out with me today! Thanks: Akeylah, Brianna, Christian, Emma, Hunter, Jackson, Jenny, Kaetlyn, Kaitlyn, Kay, Laura, Layna, Maria, Natalie, Precious, Riley, Samantha, and Zoe. Keep reading and don’t forget to send me your stories and poems; I look forward to reading them!

Apr 21

My second morning in Shreveport began at Fairfield Elementary! I was on another big stage, with another big screen, playing my big guitar (my small travel guitar being in the shop). It was fun back-to-back performances and the Fairfield students made some of the best animal noises yet (at the appropriate time during the show, mind you, not just randomly during my performance—that would be just plain weird).
Thanks to Mrs. Kelly for having me out and for steering toward my website to begin with. Thanks to Mrs. Allien for the technical support. Thanks to Mrs. Kulp for driving me. And a big thanks to all the students at Fairfield Elementary. I signed a bunch of books while I was there so I know that many of you have your reading cut out for you tonight!
After a tasty southern lunch at the Professional Library Center (my third time in my life eating grits — hey, they don’t serve grits with BBQ where I’m from), I zipped over to Claiborne Elementary—home of the Cardinals! I spent my afternoon in their new library with a bunch of great kids who had the biggest show of hands when I asked who liked writing their own stories. Very cool—tons of young writers!
Thanks to Mrs. McKnight for having me out and for the use of her library. Thanks to Mrs. Nitz and Mrs. Smith for taking over driving duty. And a big thanks to all the Claiborne Cardinals. Keep writing those stories!

Apr 20

As part of my artBreak! 2015 week-long visit to Shreveport, Louisiana, my first day had me at South Highlands Elementary! I gave two performances in front of the big screen and was fortunate enough to personally meet many wonderful students during the book signing afterwards in the library.
But the day wasn’t over yet, I enjoyed giving a writing workshop to many hard-working students who were energetic and eager to learn more about writing. Thanks for coming: Abigail, Anna, Ashleigh, Cal, Caroline, Ciara, Cooper, Emma, Evelyn, Grace B., Grace K., Grace Anne, Hannah, Jacob, James, Jazzlynn, Joshua, Justine, Karaline, Kelvin, Laiba, Logan, Luke, Mae, Maxwell, Merritt, Nicole, Olivia, Sebastian, Simmion, Suha, Thach, Vicki, and William. I hope you had as much fun as I did!
Thanks to Mrs. Shamburg for having me out. Thanks to Mrs. Nitz for driving. Thanks to Mrs. Smith, Nitz, & Shamburg for the fun lunch. Thanks to Mr. Wright for all the sound support. And a big thanks to all the great South Highlands students.

Apr 17

Today I enjoyed a fun day at Jackson Elementary in Plano, TX—home of the Jaguars! I gave three fun shows throughout the day and signed a ton of books after each show. I hope everyone enjoys their books, especially Becky who wins the title of most books signed. She has her reading cut out for her this weekend! Also, I’m glad Dayana was able to get her books. I hope she and her brother Marck enjoy them.
Thanks to Mrs. Walker and to the Jackson PTA for inviting me. Thanks to Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Sullivan, and Mrs. Ingram for all the help throughout the day and the fun lunch.
And thanks to all the fantastic Jackson Jaguars! I could tell that there were many young writers at Jackson. Keep writing those stories, sending me questions (I received an email from Tatianna as soon as I got home), and keep reading. Remember what I said, if you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader!

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