Here’s some photos from a recent school visit to Jefferson Elementary, in Schenectady, New York (but it sure looked like Rotterdam to me). We had a great day, thanks largely to the efforts of the tireless Beth Bini and the whole Jefferson Elementary Wrecking Crew.
I believe that 80% of the success or relative failure of a school visit comes down to the school. The advance work of teachers, the PTA, the support of the administration, etc. They lay the groundwork for a positive visit. Or not. Then the author comes in and basically does a job, which is the final ingredient. Essential, for sure. But without that preparatory effort by the school leaders, reading books, talking about writing, building a sense of anticipation — excitement about books! — then the author is running uphill all day long and the whole day just isn’t what it could be for the students.
Which is why I’m so grateful to Beth, and everyone else at Jefferson.
Anyway, here’s a bunch of photos of me, me, ME, mememe. A little gross, but I don’t do this too often and the shots are kind of cool.
Somebody at one of the presentations took these pictures. This would be from my talk to K-1 students. I do entirely different talks for grades 2-3, 4-5, and middle schools. Here I’m reading my new book, Mighty Casey: “Still, the hounds took the field/ with bounding, bursting pride/ win or lose, they did their best;/ they could always say, “We tried.”
It’s hard to make out here, but I love the Elmo, a camera-projection-thingy-tool-gizmo that makes it easy to show images up on a big screen, even for semi-Luddites like me. Two outs, bases loaded. Uh-oh. It’s Casey at the bat.
I like to show kids the books that I made, and sold to friends and neighbors, when I was a kid. This shot is from Tarzan’s Adventures, available for only twelve cents, with the numbers written backwards. Fortunately my mom bought and saved the lone copy. My other books from that time, such as Hercules Kills Danger, are gone forever.
This is right before I nearly killed myself by standing on a folding chair (bad idea). I’m explaining that if it was me up in a tree, and not Tarzan, that I’d definitely stay up there until the lion went away. Which is why he’s a better character for a story than I’d ever be. You see, I was a boy, and I wanted things to HAPPEN in my stories. Otherwise, why write about it?
Wake Me In Spring — no idea what I’m doing here. The truth is, I don’t have a license to do this stuff. I half expect to get hauled away any minute.