Hi everyone,

It has been a good week. I finished the first group of poems for the second half of the project, so that felt good, and had a fine time at The Library Center giving the first live program they’ve had since before the pandemic. We had a nice turnout and that was a bit of a pleasant surprise. There had been a lot of uncertainties: first live program, school night at 7:00… But folks came. My generous hosts at The Library Center were pleased and I was delighted, especially by the wonderful contributions of folksinger Judy Domeny, who sang two short pieces and one song about dirt; Jordi Raos, a naturalist from Missouri Department of Conservation at the Nature Center, who brought a toad that performed right on que when she offered it a live meal; and Jamie Williams, an educational specialist with Dickerson Park Zoo, who brought a chinchilla (who took a proper dust bath for our benefit) and a gopher tortoise that everyone was allowed to touch. I talked about THE DIRT BOOK and its 7-year journey from a thought in my head to the finished book we were celebrating. I read a few poems and we finished up at exactly 8:00 as promised. I stayed a while to sign books and left with a smile.

In other news, I discussed with the editor of The California Reader (and former president of California Reading) the making of a video with Mary Jo Fresch and Tim Rasinski to be shown during this year’s virtual state conference, which runs from October 22-December 31, and also a 60-webinar that the three of us plus Laura Robb will record for showing on November 18. We need to map these out and get them done but there’s still plenty of time for that.

I also made contact with the moderator (Amanda Jones) and other two panel members (Kate Coombs and JaNay Brown-Wood) for a poetry panel (Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Connecting Young Readers to Nature) I’m on in Salt Lake City on October 22. We’re all excited about the opportunity and hope no last minute decision to go virtual changes our plans.