Tuesday and Wednesday have been awesome!
On Tuesday, I traveled back to N.I.C.E (North Intermediate Center of Education) and held a book signing for the students I had the privilege of meeting back in Feburary. I promised the kids that I would return and they were super excited to see me and I was so happy to reconnect with them as well!
As we began, the kids loved seeing the new posters of Barney & Lexi that were made after my last visit. We talked about how I really wished they had been made before our visit but that I wanted them to see both of the posters now and they thought they looked ‘very cool’!
The local paper stopped by and the incredibly kind reporter spoke with me and the kids! She was unable to stay for too long, turns out that she was not just the reporter but also the managing editor and handled almost the entire newspaper on her own. Talk about a staying busy! I love watching the children light up when they see a t.v. crew or a newspaper coming to their school. They take a great deal of pride in their schools and love to know that they are very much important too!
In my last visit to N.I.C.E., there was a young lady named Jersey, who was in the last 4th grade class that I spoke to that week. Jersey loved the presentation so much that she watched me leave the school before returning to her class, that touched me and made a memory that I will never forget! Before I left, Jersey had asked if we could do a selfie together and because there was no more time to do one with the entire class, we could not make that happen. On this day though, this young lady got that selfie and I will be printing a picture, buying a frame and mailing it to her at the school! What a great girl she is!
Wednesday arrived and it was off to Indiana for a memorable school visit with Barney & Lexi! I returned to Riley Elementary School for the first time in 33 years. The last time I was in the halls of the school was, as a student in the early 1980’s! I walked through the doors and was blown back to yesteryear, almost making me feel as though I was that young boy walking the halls again.
Before I met the children, I went on stage, behind the closed curtain and captured the moment on video because I was about to step in the gym for the first time in 33 years and giving back to a school that gave to me! It was also special because my first teacher, Mrs. Battles was in the audience! Still teaching, she was at the beginning of her career when I was her student and now, she mentioned she was going one, or maybe two more years before retiring. Talk about coming full circle for us both! Mrs. Battles gave my creative imagination the foundation to grow into what it is today and I was proud to give something back to her.
I entered the gym and had an amazing time! The kids loved Barney & Lexi, we laughed and gave Mrs. Battles an thunderous applause for being an amazing teacher! The kids lined up afterwards and many snatched up a copy of Barney & Lexi and I enjoyed the smiles more than anything, it meant they were touched by our visit. Signing Mrs. Battles book was not only a reward but humbling to finally be able to thank someone who is part of what got me to this point as a children’s author!
Before leaving, I gave the students their school banner from Barney & Lexi. The gym went insane over it and moved the principal as the kids presented it to her. All in all simply a rewarding and memorable two days!
Back home today, I picked up a copy of my weekly column and working on some emails for bookstores and touching up some issues with bookmarks. I hope you have a wonderful day and that great things happen today!