Apr 28

Four years ago, I was the special guest at the Lee’s Summit School District Young Author Conference. Today I was back in the district for the same thing but first…a visit to Trailridge Elementary in Lee’s Summit, MO—home of the Timberwolves!
I had an exciting time during both of my presentations and enjoyed meeting Trailridge’s winning authors and illustrators from the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Congratulations Abbi, Ellie, Grant, Harper, Jayden, Kenzie, Miles, Nya, Shanielle, and Sophie!
That evening, I returned for the conference to find the school decorated as a winter wonderland for the theme. After all the district winners and their families arrived (from all over Lee’s Summit’s eighteen elementary schools), I gave a brief performance and was fortunate to congratulate each and every winning author and illustrator. I even signed many of their published collections after the show. Congratulations, everyone!
Thanks to Mrs. Shipman and Mrs. Brown for inviting me. Thanks to Mrs. Kevurn for lunch and all her help. Thanks to Violet and Danica for the Christmas book! Thanks to Mr. Barnes for a very cool Eagle Scout coin, “from one Eagle Scout to another.” Thanks to all the Trailridge staff members for their tons of hard work pulling off a smooth authors conference. And a big thanks to all the Trailridge Timberwolves and the rest of the winning authors and illustrators. I hope that I’ll be asking for your autographs someday!

Apr 21

Today I began the last day of my first Henderson, Kentucky visit at South Heights Elementary—home of the Dolphins! I performed in front of two gigantic enthusiastic crowds. The first session with the Kinder, 1st, and 2nd graders was loads of fun and they made some incredible animal noises at the end (as part of my song, at my coxing, mind you). The primary kids don’t just do that for no reason…as far as I know.
We began the second session a little early so I had time to field extra questions from all the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. They had tons of questions and really kept me on my toes by asking me not one, not two, but three insightful questions I’ve never been asked before. A new record!
After a brief lunch of some delicious Kentucky BBQ (thanks Mrs. Swanson and Mrs. Herron), we swung over to Cairo Elementary—home of the Owls! The entire school was decorated with a superhero theme. There were superhero art projects, life-size stand-ups, superhero I.D.s, and even a dark cityscape mural.
But right off the bat, I got to meet the winners of an art contest where I was allowed to sign their piece. And now it’s going to be hung in the school library. Fantastic job, Avery and Brooklyn!
After each of my shows at Cairo, all of the students wore Batman masks for a posed picture with me (I got one, too!). However, Instead of saying “cheese,” I made sure everyone used their best Christian Bale, over-the-top, gravelly voice to say, “I’m Batman.” Okay, that was mainly for my own amusement. Pretty funny having over a hundred kids doing that at the same time.
Thanks to Mrs. Overton for having me out to South Heights. Thanks to Mrs. Whitson for having me over at Cairo. Thanks to Mr. Powers and Miss Jill for all the tech support. Thanks again to Mrs. Herron for driving me all over Henderson, taking pictures, and listening to my show eight times in a row. Another big thanks to Mrs. Swanson and Henderson County Schools for inviting me to all your great campuses. And a super-big thanks to all the South Heights Dolphins and Cairo Owls! You all helped make a memorable last day for my first trip to Kentucky!

Apr 20

My first ever school visit in Kentucky was this morning at East Heights Elementary in Henderson, KY—home of the Hawks! I was welcomed by gigantic LEGO decorations as soon as I walked in the door. But that wasn’t all. Before each of my two presentations, I got a show!
Each class performed a skit giving me clues for the game “Which Book Did They Read?”. I only got most of them right (what can I say, I’ve written over a hundred books and I forgot some of the titles). This was the first time I got a show and it was very entertaining!
For lunch, Mrs. Herron and I zipped over to Niagara Elementary—home of the Wildcats—where we had lunch with the winners of the school-wide contest where students could draw, sculpt, and build art pieces inspired by my books. There were some creative works of art out there. Congratulations again and it was great having lunch with you: Adrianna, Allie, Alyssa, Blaze, Carter, Emma, Ethan, Lafe, Lilly, Maria, Marissa, Molly, Payton, Rayna, Sophie, Tucker, and Wyatt!
After my two shows at Niagara, I got to tour some of the rest of the Wildcats’ art, including a creative LEGO collage project. Great job, everyone!
Thanks to Mrs. Buley for having me out to East Heights and to Mrs. Rone for having me out at Niagara. Thanks to the East Heights front office staff for the cool LEGO hallway decoration. Thanks to Mrs. Herron for driving me and for taking all the great photos.Thanks to Mrs. Swanson for inviting me to the district and for dinner. And a big thanks to all the East Heights Hawks and Niagara Wildcats for making my first day in Kentucky an enjoyable one!
[UPDATE] I’d also like to thank the East Heights 2nd graders for all the creative thank you cards. What a wonderful surprise!

Apr 7

Today I was back in the Jeffco school district to spend the day (and evening) at Thomson Elementary in Arvado, Colorado—home of the Thomson Tigers! I had a fun time with everyone during my presentations, and all the Tigers were enthusiastic audiences. But the day didn’t end there…
That evening, I was fortunate enough to be a part of Thomson’s “I Can & I Will” Family Learning Night! There were many cool workshops and activities including a photo booth, a fire safety workshop, a structural engineer activity (which was way more fun than it sounds, actually), musical dominos, a drama workshop, and more. I even gave a writing workshop to several winners from a drawing that day.
Thanks for coming to my workshop, Brittany, Chelsie, Dakota, Danika, Davan, Dayton, Emma, Emma, Ernie, Katie, Kera, Presley, Rylee, Savana, Sophia, Spirit, Taylor, and the few others who got out before I could get your name and picture.
Thanks to Mrs. Pereira for inviting me. Thanks to Mr. Goodman for all the sound support and setup. Thanks to Mrs. Knicklelbein for all the wonderful help throughout the day. Thanks to Mrs. Baoman for taking pics that evening. And a big thanks to all the Thomson Tigers and Thomson Tiger parents who came out tonight. I hope everyone had as much fun at the school today as I did!

Apr 5

Today, I was back in my old stomping grounds, visiting Brinker Elementary in Plano, TX! I lived in Plano for several years when working on Wishbone and it’s always fun to come back and visit. And today I got to visit with some of the Brinker Bears—Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade, to be precise.
I performed four shows in the library, and Mrs. Bader of the PTA had printed out my autographed bookmarks, so everyone got one after the show. All right, Bears…since you’ll have my website address in hand, I’m expecting some great questions in my email inbox when I get home!
Thanks to Mrs. Bader and the Brinker PTA for having me out and for lunch. Thanks to Mrs. Ruggiere for taking photos and filling in as librarian (get well soon, Ms. Miller). And a big thanks to all the Brinker Kinder, 1st, and 2nd graders! Keep reading and keep writing!