Austin Middle School/Gayle Benage, Librarian: pictured above is what Lori the day before called the pebbled walkway, or something like that. When we asked Gayle about it, or Lisa (one or the other; again, my memory fails), she said, "Yeah, pebbles if you're a giant." I didn't get a pic of the school sign, knowing this path that leads directly to the library by the backway was the only pic I could take. The path to book haven, right. Hey, S, it was the best answer you gave to my question talking before the presentation: Q: So, S, where are you going to college? A: Either Harvard or Yale. The sky's the limit. Shoot for it.
Java Makes Me Jump! night @ Barnes and Noble: Dr. Bailey prepared me in advance about this event at the Irving Mall: "You never know: you might get 50 people in the audience, you might get seven." My thinking is simple: if I get two, but two who are all about reading, then that's all we need. We got more than two, not quite 50. I monopolized the time, talking non-stop just about. I should've quit, though, because I understand some of the students had booktalks ready. Sorry. But I was just so excited. Later we met at this great restaurant, Via Reál located in Las Colinas Plaza, owned by Fran Lively Mathers. And lively she is. I know this because she visited our table, and she said something so interesting: meaning these librarians, "You all are our future." I'd always heard that said about students, but the way she explained it was that educators are the ones in the classroom today, every day, teaching our kids who then become our future. Though I loved the chicken I had, better even were the vegetables. The grilled baby carrots are to die for!
Travis Middle School/Amy Hankamer, Librarian (05/09/08): Amy runs a tight ship, and she knows her readers so well, down to what areas of the library the students visit more often than others. She plans on informally shifting some books she just knows her readers would pick up from where they're shelved to the section titled "short stories." And her own boy, J, is so awesome! A reader and a gamer both. Cool meeting you, J.
Bowie Middle School (trust me, far as the sign is)/Hope Krum, Librarian: Wow! This group was way mixed--sixth, seventh, and eighth graders all represented, ESL students and ELA both. Kudos to the four eighth grade guys who did a readers' theater of a section of my The Whole Sky Full of Stars. Then the questions came. And it was the best that a girl started us off, some guys and girls added theirs, and a girl ended: the final question I wasn't able to address since we ran out of time: Q: Why don't you write about girls? A: I've tried and I got it all wrong, in my opinion. I don't want to disrespect that particular audience, but I've got some ideas, so you'll get your book. Hey, read the following short stories included in Finding Our Way to read a few female heroes I've written: "The Dive," "SylvieSylvieSylvie," "Andy and Ruthie," and "My Self Myself."
Lamar Junior High School/Cindi Rockett, Librarian: What a way to end the week. First things first, though: I hope your boy's doing well, Cindi. Right before heading over, she got a call that her boy'd got a cut in the head and she left me in the quite capable hands of two of the others: Hope and Amy, who joined me in Cindi's absence. There I talked a good bit to a large group of readers and after met with T, A, and F, who I'd met the night before at JAVA at B&N. Too cool you all are.
All I can say is that these middle school librarians've got it together. I told Dr. Lea Bailey that I'd never seen a group this large of educators all focused on the same goal, reading young folks. They are quite the family, and Irving (TX) ISD is so fortunate to have them all at this time in this place. And from what I understand from speaking to each of them, their administrators are so supportive. I so want this group to adopt me as their writer. It was an awesome time.