Saturday, June 11, 2016

Road Trip, Part 3

A special pleasure of visiting the D. C. area is the chance to work with An Open Book Foundation, which brings authors and illustrators into area schools and provides a free book to each student in the classes they visit. I got to talk to the fourth graders of Wheaton Woods Elementary in Rockville, MD, about Elena's Story, in which a Guatemalan girl reads to her brother and mother. Quite a few of the Wheaton Woods students read to their families, too. I got to read stories some students wrote after the program, and signed everyone's books.
Thanks, An Open Book, for these gifts!

These writers got right to work.

A chance for conversation

Diana Rojas and Janet Zwick of An Open Book Foundation, which organized the visit.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Road Trip, Part 2

I am always happy to meet sheep on my travels. I visited Mount Vernon in May for the first time. Besides learning that George Washington was his own architect--and that the stately mansion is faced with wood, mocked up to look like stone with varnish, sand, and paint--I didn't know how much of an innovator he was in farming. He studied up on crop rotation, composting, and what breeds of animals worked best. He had some Leicester sheep, known for the fine quality of their wool, and some rather-more-assorted-looking creatures. The ones in the rail-fenced pasture had goat-like faces.

Luckily, there was someone I could ask--a demonstrator who explained that the motley sheep had come from Hog Island, a barrier island off Virginia where Europeans had put them in the 18th century. The Hog Island sheep are rare and are re-enactor flocks for Mount Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg. Maybe they could have historical misadventures with my crew.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Road Trip, Part 1

We enjoyed the Gaithersburg Book Festival so much last year, we made the 500-mile trip again, and despite the mud and rain, we were glad we made it. Here are some pictures from the May 21 event:
My sister Elly Shaw-Belblidia and I got to introduce author-illustrator Timothy Young and watch him draw what comes out of a box.
Timothy was paired with Steve Light, who drew the ship from his new book Swap.
A sign-language interpreter helped Cece Bell and Aaron Reynolds introduce Chuck and Woodchuck and President Squid.
CSpan recorded E. J. Dionne's interview on his new book.
Longbourn author Jo Baker and The Race for Paris author Meg Waite Clayton talked about their new novels on Paris in World War II.

All in all, a good day to get under a tent and listen to book people!