I am writing from Kobe, Japan right now! I have been talking with students and teachers about making books for 11 years and this was my first school visit tour outside the U.S. I am staying with my cousins, who have lived here for the last 6 years. I spent one day at Marist Brothers School and two days at the Canadian Academy. Both are international schools, so I spoke in English. It was wonderful, because I got to meet kids from all over the world. My husband and my parents came with me, and we loved seeing the cherry blossoms in bloom. My aunt Cecile gave us a tour of several historic sites including Kinkankuji and Himeji Castle, while my cousin Catherine (high school class of 2004), took us to the Amusement (a giant video arcade), the Kobe Zoo, and Freshness Burger. I learned the true meaning of graciousness and courtesy when I spent an afternoon talking about my books with a group of Cecile’s English students, who just happen to be some of the most powerful women in Japan. They made me feel so welcome! I learned that kindness and good will can be communicated even if you don’t speak the same language.
Well, I am off to the airport, where I will fly to Ripon, Wisconsin for a Saturday young authors conference, and then to Fairfield, Ohio where I will spend the whole week. Then back to St. Louis – home at last!