Skype school visit

Hi everyone,

Posting got a little tricky yesterday. Sorry to deliver in segments. I didn’t finish revising the desert story last week for the same reason: too many unexpected stops and starts — mostly good ones with friends and family. On the advice of another friend, who sometimes reminds me to stay in the moment, I enjoyed the moments and look forward to finishing the story, hopefully, this coming week.

One highlight of the week will be paying a Skype visit to Wallenpaupack Middle School in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. Beth Troop, the teacher who arranged the visit, is a friend of many years. We met in the days when she worked in editorial for Boyds Mills Press before she completed her degree in education and went on to become a teacher. I look forward to seeing Beth and meeting her 7th graders on Friday.

Kirksville kids

Hi everyone,

Robyn Paso, the librarian at Kirksville Primary School, sent me some pictures of my recent visit there. You don’t see me in this shot but I was standing in front of 560 students K-2 on the gym floor and spoke for thirty minutes. After that we broke into groups so I could work with individual classes.

At the end of the day we met back in the gym where each group performed something I’d assigned them during our earlier sessions. The students all did a stellar job. It was a happy day.

With kids

Hi everyone,

Today I’m with 550 K-2 students in Kirksville, Missouri public schools. Working with librarian Robyn Pasa and principal Ernest Motely we set a schedule that should keep everyone involved. Wish me luck.

8:30-9:00 K-2 Opening Assembly David Harrison will present an opening assembly where he will introduce himself, talk about being an author and give an overview of what he will be doing with each grade level later in the day.

9:10-9:40 Kindergarten Pod 1 Kindergarten Sound-Effects Presentation

9:45-10:15 2nd Grade Pod 1 Second Grade Memory-Based Writing Presentation

10:30-11:00 2nd Grade Pod 2 Second Grade Memory-Based Writing Presentation


12:10-12:40 1st Grade Pod 1 First Grade List Poems Presentation

12:50-1:20 1st Grade Pod 2 First Grade List Poems Presentation

1:25-1:50 Kindergarten Pod 2 Kindergarten Sound-Effects Presentation

2:00-2:30 Final Assembly David Harrison will end the day with an all-school assembly that recaps what was covered in the grade level presentations and features student demonstrations.

Just had a great school visit

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I visited Grace Classical Academy in Springfield and spoke to grades 1-12 for an hour or more. The students were exemplary and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. My thanks to librarian Robin Harrison (no relation) for inviting me and making arrangements.

To add even more pleasure to the experience, I looked directly across the street from the school and there was the house I lived in from grade four through six. After what we’d been living in before that, we thought this was pretty swell. I had my own bedroom and we had an indoor bathroom!

Did you look for them or wait? Here are the definitions.

nickum — a cheating or dishonest person
peacockize — to behave like a peacock; to pose or strut ostentatiously
rouzy-bouzy — boisterously drunk

ruff — to swagger, bluster, domineer; to ruff it out/to brag or boast of a thing
tremblable — causing dread or horror; dreadful
awhape — to amaze, stupefy with fear, confound utterly
snout-fair — having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome
sillytonian — a silly or gullible person
dowsabel — applied generically to a sweetheart, a “lady-love”
percher — someone who aspires to a higher rank or status; ambitious or self-assertive person
quacksalver — a person who dishonestly claims knowledge of, or skill in, medicine; peddler of false cures

I’m grateful to Dominic Watt, senior linguistics lecturer at the University of York, for supplying these and other charming though obsolete words. For more, go to

Winding up another week

Hi everyone,

I had a fine time at Holland Elementary yesterday. Third grade teachers Brenda Pike and Eva Kovacs had done a wonderful job of preparing their students for the visit. They had read a number of my books and thought about what they wanted to ask. I dearly love it when teachers work with students in advance. The kids get so much more from the visit and naturally it’s a far more pleasant experience for the author. My thanks to them again and to principal Gary Tew for sending me the invitation.

A weekend with no plans. Unheard of. When my M.O.W. realizes this, I’m sure things will change. I only hope it doesn’t involve painting the house.