I've just returned from my first visit to Hanover College, a beautiful campus on the Ohio River in Indiana. Old brick buildings, wide lawns under trees still bare from winter. I was privileged to be part of a symposium with Dr. Sylvester Johnson and Dr. Howard Jones who spoke on American Exceptionalism. I got to talk about the fun in writing kids' books.
The surprise came when I met some vivacious Education students, who had started reading my Dear America books when they were nine years old, specifically The Winter of Red Snow. They talked about wanting to be teachers and possibly using my books in their own classrooms.
Seriously I choked up, deeply moved. Since writing my first novel in 1987, I've prayed for my future readers. Sometimes my prayers are specific--for happiness, health, for a comforting faith--but often the prayers have no words. They're just a yearning that my stories might bring a bit of fun to a child's life.
What serendipity to meet these thoughtful and passionate students, future teachers!
PHOTOS [top left]: freezing by the Ohio River with new friend. She has a dog and loves to read! [top right]: students Natasha Guffey, Marissa Walker--their imaginations and great sense of humor will make them great teachers. [bottom]: enthusiastic readers at our tea and book signing, including three brave boys!