Thursday, June 29, 2017

Relationships, Stephen Savage, and Twitter! Oh my!

A few weeks ago I attended a Binghamton University (SUNY-Binghamton when I was there) alumni event.  The school is trying to relaunch the club since 3000 alumni live here in the Albany area.  I was curious, especially since my daughter is a rising HS sophomore, and went with my cousin, class of '08.  There was a guy from the class of '77, me (class of '91), a guy from '98 and then more people from the 2000's and later.  I spent the most amount of time chatting with Rodell, '16. Rodell was there alone and had been living and working in Albany since November.  Maybe he came to make friends? Network? See old friends? Find a date?  Whatever it was, I was impressed.  An elementary school librarian may not be the person he was hoping of meeting that night and I might not be the most helpful in his engineering career but it did get me thinking about...

...relationships.  Personal connections and relationships.  I don't doubt we live in a world of high tech, instant contact, social media explosions, however, it got me thinking that when those tools are used wisely and with heart, you can move mountains. Or at least make a difference in the lives of some kids.

It's been a long time since I blogged.  June seems to have come and gone in a flash.  Now it is the end and summer has finally begun.  This summer not only am I hoping to read a #bookaday (chapter books, if possible) but to blog more (daily may be impossible), run so I can enjoy my sweets and lattes and forge more personal relationships with book creators.

My last of seven illustrator/author visits of the year was with, I think I can now confidently say, my friend, Stephen Savage. And even though we had Skyped a few months earlier, I believe that friendship became solidified with a tweet that got his school visit rolling:

From that one tweet, Rachel Person from the Northshire Bookstore, sent out an email and five months later Steve was walking my red carpet runway celebrating the book birthday of Little Plane Learns to Write. So, I will never knock social media but I will say, during that time he and I actually chatted on the phone twice, sent many emails back and forth to each other and I convinced him to have "dinner at Doe's" the night before his visit so we could form a 20th century friendship beyond social media.

Here are some snapshots from our great day with Steve. 
BTW--friend or foe, I highly recommend him for a school visit. Start knocking at his door today like I did...

Welcoming Steve the night before at Dinner at Doe's (far left)

Skywriting Like Little Plane at the Reading Ambassador Breakfast Little Plane Birthday Party


With the fifth grade Reading Ambassadors



More Birthday Celebrating with Dewey Duty Helpers

Flying out (and leaping) on our Runway

Until next time--Looking forward to you landing and leaping in Castleton again soon!

Thanks to Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Spring, NY and Macmillian for making this possible.  Saratoga is a great place to visit and the bookstore is a lovely spot right there on Broadway.  What a great way to end our school year!


I have to throw this in here while we are talking about the positive power of social media.  Here's another friendship that was forged, again, just from one tweet on August 14, 2014:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Welcome to Wonderland 2

Disclosure: This happened two weeks ago.  I'm a bit behind in publishing this post!

Tuesday we had another book birthday at Castleton Elementary School.  Cupcakes, popcorn, beach jello, watermelon, cookies, and more.  Everything but BALLOONS?  What?! No, it's ok! You're thinking of the other amazing Chris Grabenstein story. This one is fun in the sun.  And the Beach Boys songs are still roaming around in my head.

Fancy bakeries would have the book made out of fondant.  I just printed out 75 covers and topped the cupcakes.

Daniel brought in the jello beach cups. Yum!

Ronan almost has me believing that we ARE at the Wonderland Motel.

I asked Chris a long time ago if he would be able to Skype with us during our party.  Turns out he was in Albany for the day and could literally stop by to our party for 20 minutes.  Lucky us!  That was just enough time to do the Monkey Dance, answer a few questions from my "Chris Grabenstein Quiz" and sign some books.

Chris is like an old friend here in Castleton.  He's had dinner at Doe's twice.  No one else can say that. Yet.  He's visited our school three times, Skyped once and given us a video or two here and there. He's had two galas in his honor--at the first one I practically begged him to show up (and I didn't even know him then) and the second one was the Olympics, so a "kind-of" gala.  It had the energy of the Gala without the gowns and black ties.

The party was super fun and went without a hitch. I couldn't have done it without the help of other teachers, parents, Grandma Dottie, my principal, our future Superintendent and of course, Doe and her husband, Bob, who picked Chris up from his Albany school visit.  I must add that Grandma Dottie was the waitress extraordinaire serving apple juice on trays and you would almost think that Mr. Chevrier, Superintendent-To-Be, was really applying for the Custodian-To-Be job the way he was carrying around the broom!

Chris is BACK!

Happy Book Birthday!

Izzy and Ryan are big Wonderland fans. They even wrote blurbs about it!

We sold a good number of books! Yay!


Even our custodian loves Chris!