This weekend I autographed books at the Webster University Children’s Literature Conference. It’s a really great opportunity for authors and educators to connect here in St. Louis, MO. There were several other authors here at the conference, and I got a chance to have a wonderful conversation with Patricia McKissack, a very well-known author who also lives in St. Louis. She visited my college children’s lit class when I was a student, and I hadn’t seen her in a long time. I love getting a chance to talk with other authors and teachers because most of the time I am working alone in my studio making my books. It’s fun to hear what the teachers would like to read and how different authors and illustrators approach the process. Thanks, Webster!
Kids love it when Kristin comes for an author visit!
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Archive for November, 2004
Yay! It’s Friday! This is my first “silly picture” for my blog. I love it. Today I spent the morning with the students at Florida Mesa Elementary, my last school in Durango. I spoke first wih the little kids, and then with the big kids. Believe it or not, these are the big kids. We had a good time discussing how it’s possible to use your talents to make a difference in your family, school, or your town before you’re even allowed to vote. I think they really got the message. Lots of them were curious about the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica. That’s the rainforest that inspired me to write my first book. Working together, kids all over the world were able to protect over 54,000 acres! Thank you, Florida Mesa!
So after a full day of school visits, I came back to my hotel and walked around Durango. It was a brilliant, chilly, sunny afternoon. Very relaxing. It was nice to have some time outside. Except for the election coverage, I haven’t watched any TV this week. Probably a good idea. More time for journaling. This evening, I gave a talk for local parents and grandparents back at Sunnyside Elementary, which is also a branch of the Durango Public Library. It was great to have a chance to speak with the parents. It was a fairly small group – about 15-20, and some of the very interested students got a chance to come back with their moms and dads and ask more questions. I signed several more books, and was excited to see how the students decorated their school with artwork relating to my books. Thank you, Durango Public Library!
Today I visited Riverview Elementary School. This is a pretty big school, compared to the other Durango elementaries. Good thing they also have a nice new library to hold all these kids! In fact, Riverview has a whole new school building – and they were just about finished with construction when I arrived this morning. Before lunch, I spoke with Kindergarten and 1st Grade. This was only their 2nd assembly of the school year, and according to the teachers, there was a huge improvement in their listening skills. Good job kids! Some teachers took me out to lunch, and then I spoke to the 2nd and 3rd Grades, and then the 4th and 5th Grades. Even though they were very large groups, these kids were glued to the screen as I showed them pages from my unpublished journal on the digital projector. I think these kids can really relate because they can start writing & drawing in a journal to practice their author and illustrator skills right now. Also, I signed a lot of books at Riverview after I was finished talking with the students. Thank you, Riverview! Enjoy your new school!
This evening I got a special treat! My hostess, Dana Nilsson, invited me and the entire Durango Christian Science Sunday School group (and their parents) over to her house for a BBQ dinner. I had an awesome time talking with these kids, many of whom are very artistic. In fact, one 2nd grader brought a finished book to show me. It was all about tornadoes, and he made it for a science assignment. Very impressive. In return, I let the kids and parents look at my illustrated journal. The food was excellent, and I also got to go to church after dinner, which I never get to do when I am traveling on these school visit adventures. A special thank you to Dana and the whole Durango Christian Science Church!
Durango is the cutest little western town! I had some free time this morning, so I walked down the street to Durango Bagel, where I had breakfast (excellent muffins!) and listened to the NPR election update. I am glad I remembered to bring my gloves on this trip! It was chilly this morning. My school day started at 10:30am. I spoke to the 2nd and 3rd graders first. What an enthusiastic group! I am trilled it worked out to do these talks in the library, because the kids really know how to sit quietly here. When I do talks in gyms or caffeterias, it is a little more difficult because those are both places where kids are used to being noisy. Ontop of that, Park has a brand new library with lots of room for books and kids. After lunch, I spoke with a group of 4th & 5th graders, and then Kindergarten and 1st grade. When I read “A Swim through the Sea” to the K-1 group, I was impressed that the kids knew what kind of whale was on the W page. A Humpback Whale, of course! Thank you Park Elementary!
Wow! What a change from Houston! Last week it was up in the 80s, and now it definitely feels like winter is coming here in Durango. Today I spent the morning visiting in the library with 2 groups of students at Animas Valley Elementary. First I talked with the 1st and 2nd graders and their 4th grade reading buddies. The 1st graders had an entire white board filled with questions they prepared in their classrooms before I arrived. Next, I spoke with the 3rd, 5th, and remaining 4th graders. They were especially excited about seeing my journals. I could tell that there were quite a few avid writers in this group. Thank you, Animas Valley!
I spent the afternoon on the complete opposite side of Durango, visiting with the Sunnyside students. These kids were amazing! First, I dropped in on a 4th grade writing group, to answer some in-depth, serious questions about the writing process. We talked about researching, outlines, first drafts, editing, revising, and publishing. Then I got a special treat. I visited a 1st grade class and the 2nd & 3rd grade mixed writing class. Both groups created alliterative alphabet books, which they read to me. It was great! Usually, I’m the one reading the stories. It was nice to get to listen to a story for a change! At the end of the day, I spoke to the whole school (K-5) in the library. I was impressed with how well the kids listened – especially the little ones. Since it was Election Day, we talked a lot about how one person can make a difference, and how if we work together, we can change the world. Thanks, Sunnyside!
Also, several of the librarians took me out to dinner at The Palace, a great restaurant in Durango. The food was absolutely delicious, and it was nice to get to visit with them personally. I never knew librarians could be so much fun! The students are lucky to have them at their schools. These ladies work really hard. Thanks for dinner!