Yes, it was cold (though, thankfully, I missed most of the ice and snow). But I saw old friends, ate well --too well-- and had some amazing experiences.
Here we are in pictures and links!
GLORY BE was picked as an ALL COMO READS book,
which meant I got to be a part of the remarkable programming to commemorate
Freedom Summer, 1964, in Panola County, Mississippi.
Luckily, I got to town the day before my talk and was able to attend the panel of former civil rights workers from the county. They'd registered voters in 1964 and were back to talk about their experiences. Quite an evening that left me and their audience thinking hard.
Two of the civil rights workers chatting with my host and brother-in-law. Note the photography exhibit that lined the walls of the Como Library.
The program ended with this fabulous professional musician leading us in Freedom Songs.
To share the week properly, I first should go back to this summer, when librarian Alice Pierotti helped me and NPR's Back Seat Book Club out, big time. When I was invited to be inteviewed for that amazing show, the producer asked if I knew any kid readers she could include in the broadcast. Yikes!
It was summer, all my school connections were unavailable. But I remembered one super librarian who'd loved GLORY BE. Alice didn't hesitate. She organized a group of Como Braniac kids, planned a listening party, and has continued to support my book.
Fast forward to February, 2014.
And here I am with two of the original Como Braniacs!
She plans to be a writer. Probably soon!
I loved these kids and their questions.
It was all overseen by this talented young man and his cameras. He was everywhere! Doing everything!
Another favorite moment of the evening was chatting with this young teacher. Anda Weaver's entire class had read GLORY BE. My only disappointment was that there wasn't time for me to visit her school. I am going to try very hard to get back and thank those kids for reading.
Another enthusiastic teacher with lots of questions about writing.
I predict we'll hear more from Precious Pirage!
My talk was about how authors' choose their characters, how they develop and refine them, often starting with real people.
It was really an excuse to use some pictures I love.
And share a few stories about writing GLORY BE.
Football Letterman, 1964.
Majorettes! Jesslyn's summer goal= Twirl a Fire Baton!
If you're still reading, thanks. Since you're probably on blog overload, I'll save some of my pictures from the rest of the week. But truly, there's nothing like going home.