Ok, I’m ashamed to admit this, but it’s going to come out sooner or later: This past week, while upstate New York was suffering through near record snowfalls, I was in southern Florida visiting Country Hills Elementary. Not only that, but it was a great visit. To all my friends and family back home, please know that I feel really, really guilty.
It’s always a little tough traveling a long distance for an author visit, because I’m never quite sure what I’ll find when I get there. That’s why it was such a nice surprise to be greeted by a big gift basket full of welcome cards from the kids at Country Hills.
The next day when I arrived, I found the school full of Absolutely Not- and Backbeard-themed projects. These were really well done and very creative. They ranged from paper bugs, silhouette creatures and computer-generated Backbeards to a giant version of the colorful ship at the end of the book. It stood a good ten feet tall and had a sail made from squares, each individually created by students on the computer. Behind the sail was a fan that made it look like it was billowing in the wind. Amazing.
There was still one more surprise to come. Friday morning, one of the classes arrived at the presentation dressed in clothes that would impress Backbeard. Absolutely nothing matched. Plus, a bunch of kids had stuffed pigs on their shoulders! It still makes me laugh thinking about it.
My sincere thanks go out to Jane Clothier and all the wonderful teachers and parent volunteers I met this past week. You’re all terrific, and your students are too. Keep in touch!