Just like last year, my first official book tour stop was at Ridgewood Avenue School in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, where I teach third grade! Originally I was supposed to do my author visit on Monday, the day before The Whispering Trees was released, but due to a horrifying combination of snow storms and standardized testing the assembly was moved to Friday. All the same to me—I’m there every day anyway!
My class got to sit in the first two rows (that only seemed fair) and the students and teachers were as supportive and enthusiastic as always. Since this was my second “visit” to RAS I couldn’t do the same presentation as last time, so I talked a little about my writing method and how you can complete an overwhelming task—such as writing a long novel—by breaking it into smaller parts and focusing on one task at a time. But mostly I just made jokes.
I also re-introduced something I did last year when I went on tour. The idea is that I’m always looking for new ways to frighten children (which is sorta true), and that the students can help me by casting their vote in a “Which is scarier?” debate. We had a lot of fun with it. I’ll do this for each school as I wander from city to city, and tabulate the votes in this blog.
Ridgewood Avenue School, Glen Ridge, NJ
Which is scarier? (Their choices are in bold.)
abandoned mall vs. dark forest
shark vs. giant squid
heights vs. thunderstorm
haunted house vs. haunted school
I’m sad to leave my students for nearly two weeks, but they are in the very capable hands of the man who was my student teacher earlier in the year, so things could not have worked out better!
On Tuesday night I had my first official bookstore appearance at the Barnes and Noble in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Bookseller extraordinaire Ashley once again did a fantastic job, as did everyone else who works at this remarkable store, which has the friendly vibe of an independent bookstore. There were snacks, raffles, balloons, and bingo—with prizes like cupcakes and gift cards. How cool is that? A lot of my friends came out to support me, as well as a few incredible kids from my son’s middle school, and even a former student of mine who is now a junior in college! All in all, it was an amazing opening to my book tour!
Next up: Huntington Beach, California!