I've just returned from a week in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia doing school visits for the Va Festival of the Book. This was my second trip down for the festival. Its fun for me to attend because not only do I get to visit schools in the neighborhoods where I grew up, but I get a little dose of spring before it arrives here in Boston.
In Charlottesville the daffodils are in bloom:
The forsythia is bursting yellow all over:
And the friend's house where I stayed sits next to a fully blooming plum tree that floats tiny pink petals all over place:
Ah, the good life. Sitting on porches on warm afternoons, waving a lazy hello to the neighbors. I can't say I was thrilled to return to the grey cloud that is Boston in March.
When I wasn't staring wistfully at the flowers and trying to soak up as much sun as possible, I was touring around local schools and doing my school visit presentation. I think this is the most public speaking I've ever done in 3 days. I visited 5 schools and gave 14 talks to more than 1000 kids.
The last day I was there was the most intense... on Thursday schools were closed due to a bizarre incident on the highway that runs through town. Charlottesville is a pretty peaceful place so it was fairly shocking that someone would sit on the side of the highway and shoot at cars. Fortunately they caught the guy pretty quickly, he was caught on video shooting at a bank awhile back, in a bright orange Gremlin. Did he want to get caught?
Anyways, as a result of the schools shutting down when I was supposed to visit them, I needed to fit two days worth of visits into one. I began on Friday at 8 am and gave 2 presentations at one elementary school. I hopped in my car and drove to a second school and gave another. Then I drove back to the first school and did 2 more talks. Then finally to a third school where I gave one more talk. Normally I don't do more than 4 talks in one day, it was a marathon for sure!
I was greeted by enthusiastic librarians who did a phenomenal job of prepping the kids (so important). One in particular went above and beyond decorating the school before I came:
I don't have many shots of the larger groups I visited, but here is one of me (midsentence of course, ha, pics of me talking are always super nerdy) visiting a Head Start program. This was my first time visiting Head Start, and was a fun reminder of my preschool teaching days (the kids are SO tiny). Here I am making a drawing with some 4 year olds, they came up with this character which they named Tina the Turtle:
Favorite quote from the week:
Me: "Does anyone know what happens when a book gets published?"
First grader, in a sweet southern accent: "They fancy it up!"