Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank You, Muscatine, Iowa.

I'm writing to you from Muscatine, Iowa, the pearl button and watermelon capital of the world! I spent the last two days meeting with all the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, talking with them about the writing process and about being an author. It's been a blast. The kids were great, and the teachers, librarians, and school administrators here in Muscatine have impressed me with their dedication to the students and their hospitality to little ol' me. Tomorrow, I head to Wilton, Iowa, for a few more presentations, and then I'm homeward bound. All these Iowa school visits happened because Julia's Kitchen is on the Iowa Children's Choice Awards reading list this year. I am so honored to be included with such fantastic books!

A few of my favorite moments:
Donating the books I collected for Mati Hepker, Little Miss Iowa, whose platform is literacy and who lost all her books in a house fire last week. Thank you so much to everyone who helped with this very fast book drive! If you want to donate books to Mati, shoot me an email, and I will give you the address where you can send them.

Dining with teachers, librarians, and a few of their children at terrific local restaurants. On the first night, I met with some children's book author friends at The Button Factory Restaurant. This restaurant used to be an actual working button factory. It's right on the Mississippi River, and they used to take mussels from the river and punch buttons out of the shells. Pictured below are Jill Esbaum, Connie Heckert, me, Beth Elshoff (the teacher/librarian extraordinaire who coordinated my whole visit), and Linda Carwath.

Answering funny questions from kids, such as, "Do you like pudding?" and "Who is your favorite Disney character?" They also asked wonderful, pertinent questions, too. :-)

The only problem with this whole visit? I'm a Michigan Wolverine fan in Iowa Hawkeye country!

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