Fun Fourth of July Facts

July 2nd, 2010

Fun Fourth of July Facts

Independence Day is celebrated across our country with the patriotic waving of the stars and stripes and the display of fireworks. How much do Americans really know about our flag and how exploding fireworks became a part of the festivities? Here is what every American should know about Old Glory and the fireworks that light up the sky and ring in our ears each July 4:

Flag Facts:
There are no official meanings tied to the colors of the flag, but over time it has been generally agreed upon that red signifies hardiness and valor, blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice, while white denotes purity and innocence. Red has been informally linked to the remembrance of the courage and bloodshed of American war heroes. Some historians believe the red color was a nod to British heritage, but with intersections of white indicating independence and freedom from British rule. The blue has also been attributed to the color of the “chief” or president. Blue was the perfect background or “sky” for the “new constellation” of our emerging country as described in the Flag Act, which was passed on June 14, 1777.

The first flag the revolutionists used was actually not yet an “American” flag. The Grand Union Flag had 13 alternating red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left hand corner. On New Year’s Day in 1776, the Continental Army was reorganized in accordance with a Congressional resolution, placing American forces under the leadership of George Washington. This flag, although never made official, was flown above General Washington’s base at Prospect Hill.

The first official U.S. flag is known as the Betsy Ross Flag, although most historians now believe it to be more legend than fact that Mrs. Ross actually sewed the famous flag. It was most likely designed by Francis Hopkinson. This familiar flag is made up of 13 alternating red and white stripes and thirteen white stars arranged in a circle on a blue background in the upper left hand corner to represent the 13 original colonies (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island). Flag Day commemorates the Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777, which made the Betsy Ross flag the first official American flag.

The Star Spangled Banner Flag was designed much like the Betsy Ross Flag, only with 15 stars arranged in rows and 15 stripes to represent the original 13 states plus Kentucky and Vermont. In 1812 the flag was flown over Fort McHenry, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write his poem “The Star Spangled Banner”. This poem was later put to music to become our national anthem. The Star Spangled Banner Flag is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
Twenty five other versions of the US flag followed the Star Spangled Banner Flag. Each of these subsequent flags had only 13 stripes, but the stars kept increasing from 20 to 50 as more states were added to the Union.

Our current Fifty Star American Flag was designed by a seventeen year old Ohio high school student named Robert Heft. As part of a history assignment in 1958, he anticipated the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to our country. Heft is said to have toiled for 12 hours using his mother’s sewing machine and a hot iron to add a new blue canton, or upper left hand corner, to an heirloom family 48 star flag. The new canton had 50 stars on each side, totally 100 hand cut stars. His teacher said his project lacked originality and gave him a B minus. The teacher, however, agreed to raise Heft’s grade if he could convince Congress to accept the new design. Heft sat on stage with President Dwight D. Eisenhower as his Fifty Star American Flag was made official on July 4, 1960. The current flag has had the longest tenure of any of its predecessors. It is safe to say Robert Heft’s 11th grade history project has been an “A plus” for almost 50 years now in the heart of Americans.

Fireworks Facts:
Although the invention of the first fireworks (in the form of bamboo tubes filled with explosives) is generally credited to the Chinese, fireworks have been linked to American celebrations even before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The earliest settlers brought fireworks to the U.S. colonies for use in celebrations of all kinds as well as to impress the natives. A ban was even considered necessary in 1731 in the colony of Rhode Island to stifle the mischievous and irresponsible use of explosives. Since the celebratory use of fireworks was common in the colonies, it is no surprise that they were a big part of the first official celebration of Independence Day in 1777. Fireworks, then, are as American as apple pie, and have been with our nation since the very beginning!

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Fun Flag Day Facts

June 13th, 2010

Fun Flag Day Facts

The Fourth of July is the familiar celebration of America’s independence, but there is a lesser known holiday specifically celebrating the “birthday” of the American flag. Flag Day is observed on June 14 in honor of the Flag Resolution passed on that date in 1777. The idea for Flag Day was first introduced in 1885 by Wisconsin schoolteacher B.J. Cigrand. New York City kindergarten teacher George Balch gained support for the holiday in 1889 and helped influence the State Board of Education of New York to officially adopt the celebration. The late 1800s saw a continual movement in favor of Flag Day, spreading from New York to Pennsylvania. Inspired by three decades of local, school, and state celebrations, Flag Day was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. President Truman signed an Act of Congress in 1949 designating June 14 as National Flag Day. It is time to kick off the summer patriotism a month earlier than usual with some fun facts about Old Glory.
There are no official meanings tied to the colors of the flag, but over time it has been generally agreed upon that red signifies hardiness and valor, blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice, while white denotes purity and innocence. Red has been informally linked to the remembrance of the courage and bloodshed of American war heroes. Some historians believe the red color was a nod to British heritage, but with intersections of white indicating independence and freedom from British rule. The blue has also been attributed to the color of the “chief” or president. Blue was the perfect background or “sky” for the “new constellation” of our emerging country as described in the Flag Act of 1777.
The first flag the revolutionists used was actually not yet an “American” flag. The Grand Union Flag had 13 alternating red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left hand corner. On New Year’s Day in 1776, the Continental Army was reorganized in accordance with a Congressional resolution, placing American forces under the leadership of George Washington. This flag, although never made official, was flown above General Washington’s base at Prospect Hill.
The first official US flag is known as the Betsy Ross Flag, although most historians now believe it to be more legend than fact that Mrs. Ross actually sewed the famous flag. It was most likely designed by Francis Hopkinson. This familiar flag is made up of 13 alternating red and white stripes and thirteen white stars arranged in a circle on a blue background in the upper left hand corner to represent the 13 original colonies (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island). The Flag Resolution of 1777 actually commemorates the Betsy Ross flag as the first official American flag.
The Star Spangled Banner Flag was designed much like the Betsy Ross Flag, only with 15 stars arranged in rows and 15 stripes to represent the original 13 states plus Kentucky and Vermont. In 1812 the flag was flown over Fort McHenry, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write his poem “The Star Spangled Banner”. This poem was later put to music to become our national anthem. The Star Spangled Banner Flag is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
Twenty five other versions of the US flag followed the Star Spangled Banner Flag. Each of these subsequent flags had only 13 stripes, but the stars kept increasing from 20 to 50 as more states were added to the Union.
Our current Fifty Star American Flag was designed by a seventeen year old Ohio high school student named Robert Heft. As part of a history assignment in 1958, he anticipated the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to our country. Heft is said to have toiled for 12 hours using his mother’s sewing machine and a hot iron to add a new blue canton, or upper left hand corner, to an heirloom family 48 star flag. The new canton had 50 stars on each side, totally 100 hand cut stars. His teacher said his project lacked originality and gave him a B minus. The teacher, however, agreed to raise Heft’s grade if he could convince Congress to accept the new design. Heft sat on stage with President Dwight D. Eisenhower as his Fifty Star American Flag was made official on July 4, 1960. The current flag has had the longest tenure of any of its predecessors. It is safe to say Robert Heft’s 11th grade history project has been an “A plus” for 50 years now in the heart of Americans.

by Lori Jordan-Rice, author of the “Miss Trimble’s Trapdoor” children’s history adventure book series

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How To Keep Your Child Reading All Summer

May 31st, 2010

Research shows that students who read regularly over the summer retain much more knowledge from the previous school year than their non reading counterparts. How does a parent encourage reading over the summer without making it seem like a chore? Here is a summer full of fun ways to keep your child’s nose in the books:
1. Set a good example. Children are more likely to imitate our actions than listen to our words. Let your kids see you reading a variety of materials often. (Cookbooks, magazines, and that juicy romance novel all count!)
2. Make visiting the public library part of your summer routine. (Don‘t forget to pick something out for yourself too.) Everyone in the family who is potty trained should have his or her own library card. Follow your weekly library adventure by something enjoyable like a visit to the park or the ice cream shop.
3. Don’t take the Suggested Summer Reading List too seriously. If your child is interested in checking out some of them, go for it, but remember, they are only suggestions.
4. Read aloud to your child, no matter how old he or she is. Make it more interactive by “partner reading.” Read a page to your child, then switch and let your child read a page. If reading is a struggle, start by reading several pages yourself first and gradually decrease your pages until your child builds stamina and is reading every other page.
5. Throw out the “rule book.” Let your child read barefooted or while petting the family dog. Encourage your child to read books that are not necessarily geared for his or her age group or gender.
6. Provide a comfortable and inviting reading space. Think fluffy pillows and favorite stuffed animals thrown in a cozy corner of the family room.
7. Strategically place books all over the house: on the coffee table, on children’s nightstands, on the kitchen table, by the family computer, and even in a magazine rack in the bathroom.
8. Reading need not always be an indoor activity. Enjoy the weather by reading outside under a shade tree, on a swing, or by the pool.
9. Have a reading slumber party. Let the kids stay up as late as they want as long as they are reading. Make it more fun by reading under the covers with a flashlight.
10. Subscribe to a magazine in your child’s name. There are many to choose from including Highlights for Children, National Geographic for Kids, and Sports Illustrated for Kids.
11. Help your child get “hooked” on a series of books that interests him or her or the works of a favorite author.
12. Ask grandparents or other relatives to write your child letters or emails. Kids will be delighted to read something written just to them.
13. When your children ask a question, help them look up the answer.
14. Assign everyone in the family a character and read a book aloud using different voices for each character. Make it even more theatrical by including costumes using clothes from closets and dressers all over the house.
15. Stash books in the car for times when you are stuck in traffic, sitting in the drive thru line, or waiting for soccer practice.
16. Vary the types of books available to your child from educational non fiction selections to joke books.
17. Camp out in the backyard and read books by moonlight, starlight, or flashlight. Ghost stories are especially dramatic read this way.
18. Cook a meal or dessert while your child reads you the recipe.
19. Reading does not have to always include traditional books. Try comic books, magazines, word puzzles, or an electronic book reader like Nook or Kindle.
20. Make use of audio books available at most bookstores and libraries. These are great for car trips.
21. When kids insist on watching TV, compromise with them by leaving it on but turning the volume off and switching over to closed captioning. They get to “read” their favorite show while mom and dad enjoy the peace and quiet.
22. Offer to take your child to see (or rent) the latest children’s movie based on a book, but only after you have read the book together. Children may be surprised that they enjoy the book even more than the movie.
23. Have a family karaoke night. Kids will have so much singing they won’t even realize they are reading!
24. Ask older siblings to read a book to younger ones. It gives big kids an excuse to enjoy a book they would like to pretend they have outgrown.
25. Include reading material when you pack for vacation.
26. Give books as gifts and rewards. Make it even more personal by attending a book signing and have a book autographed by the author.
27. Assemble a craft or model with your child by reading the instructions for a change.
28. Let your child order off the kid’s menu. Pointing to the picture doesn’t count. He or she has to read it to the waiter (or into the driver thru speaker.)
29. Play board games like Scrabble or Boggle. Even reading those little squares when you move your pawn or the cards from the pile in the middle counts as reading.
30. Enroll your child in your local library’s summer reading program. Stay for story time while you are there.

by Lori Jordan-Rice, author of the “Miss Trimble’s Trapdoor” children’s history adventure book series

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Thankful Heart

May 5th, 2010

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I truly have a thankful heart. I am so blessed by wonderful family and friends who have been supportive of me and my books. The most amazing part is they probably don’t even realize how much their kind words and deeds have meant to me. I am a hopeless list maker, mostly of tasks I need to complete. Here is a much more enjoyable list to compose:

Things Big and Small I am Thankful For as an Author

1. A friend who will run to the dollar store on the way to one of my book events and buy the perfect red and blue plastic table cloths because I remembered to bring everything EXCEPT something to cover my naked exhibit table (and then spend a whole Saturday afternoon keeping me company at said event made quite slow by the rain.) The check is in the mail to pay you back, Sweet Friend!

2. A Friend who will talk me up to anyone and everyone, and even make me look presentable in front of a TV camera. She is my one woman cheer squad!

3. My dear friend who walks and talks or texts with me, listening to my anxieties and dreams alike, prays for me and believes in me no matter what.

4. A friend who comes to a snowy day booksigning to encourage me and takes pictures!

5. Friends who plan for me to visit their schools and then show their shining faces in the crowd of kids.

6. My boys who help me stay positive no matter what. My five year old announces , “My mom’s an author!” to anyone who will listen.

And to all the other friends who support me in ways big and small in word or deed, over coffee, a text message, or Facebook, I am truly grateful.  This is one list I am happy to keeping adding onto!

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Thanks Northbrook Elementary

March 17th, 2010

I would like to extend a special thank you to Northbrook Elementary in Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD and their counselor Mrs. Cano for including me in their Carreer Day. The staff was gracious, and the students were an amazing audience, particularly being that it was the day before spring Break!

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Audio Interview on “The Children’s Author Show”

March 3rd, 2010

Is excited to have my audio interview being broadcasted today and tomorrow (March 3 &4) on “The Children’s Author Show” It runs constantly on the site…please check it out and tell anyone who might be interested in learning more about my “Miss Trimble’s Trapdoor” children’s history adventure book series.

http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShowChildren.html

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The Top Ten Things You Should Know about Presidents Day and the U.S. Presidents

February 1st, 2010

Love is in the air, and department stores are advertising fabulous sales. This can only mean the short month of February has arrived, bringing both a chill to the weather and warmth to the heart. Nestled somewhere around the informal holiday of Valentines Day is the bona fide official federal holiday of Presidents Day. Or is it? Here are the top ten things you should know about Presidents Day and our presidents.
1. The Holiday: There is no official federal holiday called Presidents Day (or President’s Day or Presidents’ Day for that matter). The holiday is, and always has been, legally known as Washington’s Birthday. This day was observed originally on George Washington’s actual birthday, February 22, and was celebrated during our first president’s lifetime. Washington’s Birthday was made official in 1885 when President Chester Arthur signed a bill making it a federal holiday. On June 28, 1968 Congress signed into law the Monday Holidays Act, which moved the official observance of Washington’s birthday to the third Monday in February. This act took effect on January 1, 1971. Some reformers had wanted to change the name of the holiday to honor both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12, but that proposal was rejected by Congress. While the name change to Presidents Day has never been officially authorized by Congress, it has gained a strong hold on the public consciousness and is commonly used.
2. The Spelling: Because Presidents Day is not the official name of any federal holiday, there is great variation in how it is rendered. Many dictionaries and usage manuals endorse both Presidents Day and Presidents’ Day. The Chicago Manual of Style, The American Heritage Dictionary, and Webster’s Third International Dictionary, as well as the majority of significant authorities, still favor the predominant Presidents’ Day. The popularity of Presidents Day has increased in recent years, however, and is favored by both the Writer’s Digest and Associated Press Stylebook. President’s Day is technically only correct if intending to honor just one president, but is often seen in print even when meant to pay tribute to both Washington and Lincoln.
3. Washington and his Hatchet: Although our first president certainly deserves our respect, it is not due to his honesty as a child. The well known story of young George chopping down a cherry tree and owning up to the transgression comes from an early biography of George Washington entitled Life of George Washington; with Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honorable to Himself, and Exemplary to His Young Countrymen. It is likely that author Mason Locke Weems fabricated the famous story.
4. Lincoln’s “Failures”: Our sixteenth president undoubtedly overcame many obstacles before his election. He came from humble beginnings with little formal education. He endured personal tragedies, as well as financial, business and political setbacks. Lincoln’s “failures” have, however been exaggerated to create a more inspirational story. He enjoyed comparable successes such as being elected captain of Illinois’ militia, being elected to the Illinois state legislature and Congress, and establishing his own law practice.
5. The Presidency: A candidate for presidency must be a natural born citizen at least 35 years of age and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years. Barack Obama is our 44th president, although only 43 individual men have served. Grover Cleveland, the only president to be elected to nonconsecutive terms, is counted as both the 22nd and 24th president.
6. Ages and Terms: The oldest president was Ronald Reagan, who was 69 at the time of his election. The youngest president ever elected was John F. Kennedy, at age 43. Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president ever to serve, however, when at age 42, he succeeded William McKinley, who had been assassinated. Franklin D. Roosevelt served the longest term in office, 12 years, 1 month, and 8 days. (The 22nd Amendment now prohibits election to more than two terms). William Henry Harrison had the shortest tenure, a mere month. He died of pneumonia after giving a lengthy inaugural speech in the snow.
7. Physical Attributes. The tallest president was Abraham Lincoln who stood a towering 6’4”. James Madison was a petite 5’4” and 100 lbs. William Howard Taft weighed in at over 300 lbs, and was so hefty that he once became stuck in the White House bathtub.
8. Presidents on U.S Currency: The following presidents are currently pictured on U.S. coins: Lincoln (penny) Thomas Jefferson (nickel) Franklin D. Roosevelt (dime) Washington (quarter) and Kennedy (half dollar). United States currency notes now in production bear the following presidential portraits: George Washington on the $1 bill, Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill, Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill, Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, and Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill. Presidents William McKinley, Grover Cleveland, James Madison, and Woodrow Wilson have been featured on larger denominations no longer in circulation.
9. Family Life: Only one president, Ronald Reagan, was divorced, and James Buchanan was our only bachelor president. Grover Cleveland married and had a child while in office. Six of our presidents had no children, and John Tyler, father of 15, had the most. Washington had no biological children, although he was a stepfather to his wife’s two children from her first marriage.
10. Presidential “Firsts”: The first president to actually live in the White House was John Adams. The first President to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. was Thomas Jefferson. Woodrow Wilson was the first to hold regular presidential press conferences and to speak on the radio. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to appear on TV. Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to ride in a car and also to travel abroad while in office. His fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the first to fly in an airplane. William Taft started the tradition of the presidential “first pitch” of baseball season in 1910. Since that first pitch, every president except Jimmy Carter has opened at least one baseball season during their tenure.

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The Top Ten Things Kids Should Know About Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2009

The Top Ten Things Kids Should Know About Thanksgiving

Each November schoolchildren across America come home with a variety of traditional crafts to decorate the kitchen refrigerator: the construction paper headband with colorful feathers, the paper bag vest with fringe, the black paper hat with the white buckle, and the keepsake handprint turkey. Often classrooms host a feast in which children contribute a variety of foods from fruits and vegetables to popcorn, or invite proud parents to take pictures during the “Pilgrims and Indians” school play. All of these activities provide warm, happy memories, but may leave children without a basic knowledge of the facts of the season. Here are the top ten things kids should know about Thanksgiving:
1. The Background: A group of English citizens wanted to practice their religion separately from the official church of the king of England. They sought asylum originally in Holland, then in the New World. On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from England’s southern coast across the North Atlantic Ocean. It would be 66 days until land was sighted. During the stormy trip one man died and a baby was born.
2. The Mayflower: The famous wooden sailing ship was approximately 90 feet long and 26 feet wide. It was actually a cargo ship, more accustomed to carrying wine than people. The ship was quite crowded because a second ship planned for the journey, the Speedwell, was leaky and had to return to shore. Captain Christopher Jones oversaw approximately 30 crewmen. Only about 35 of the 102 passengers were seeking religious freedom; many of the others were seeking employment in a new world that they could not find at home in England.
3. The Location: The Mayflower first landed in Cape Cod, the modern day city of Provincetown, Massachusetts. The passengers remained on the ship and penned the Mayflower Compact, a forerunner of the Constitution, which outlined fair laws and citizen chosen leadership. It was not until some time later that the Mayflower set sail in search of a more suitable location and arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, probably at Plymouth Rock because it was the only good landing place along two and a half miles of sandy beach. Plymouth was an excellent location to settle because it was actually the site of the Native American village of Pawtuxet. The Wampanoag tribe that had once inhabited the area of running brooks and cleared farmlands had been almost entirely wiped out by disease a few years before the arrival of the English settlers.
4. The Date: The Mayflower anchored at Plymouth on December 16, 1620. More than half of the settlers died over the winter. With the help of the Native Americans, they planted crops and enjoyed a fairly bountiful harvest. The corn harvest was especially impressive because of a surviving member of the Wampanoag named Squanto had taught the Pilgrims the best way to plant and fertilize corn. The actual feast was held somewhere between September 21 and November 11, 1621, most likely mid October. The celebration lasted for three whole days!
5. The Preparation: The Pilgrims were very traditional in their family roles. The women and girls prepared all of the meal themselves, cooking primarily outdoors.
6. The Menu: The first Thanksgiving meal may have contained some wild turkey, but no cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie. More likely dishes were vegetables from the Pilgrim’s gardens such as carrots, cucumbers, turnips, onions, radishes, beets, and cabbage. Also likely to have appeared at this feast were wild geese and duck. The settlers had no sugar, so dessert probably consisted of berries as well as fresh and dried fruit such as strawberries, plums, and cherries. Lobsters, eels, clams, oysters, and fresh fish were also probably at the celebration being that the settlement was near the coast. Venison was the main course; the Native Americans contributed five deer. Rather than a formal sit down dinner, the feast of 1621 was more like a continuous buffet eaten primarily using one’s fingers.
7. The Guests: Attending the harvest celebration were approximately 50 English settlers under the leadership of the colony’s governor William Bradford. About ninety Native American men of the Wampanoag tribe under leadership of Chief Massasoit later arrived.
8. The Attire: The weather was chilly in October in New England, so the Wampanoag were probably fully dressed rather than dining in just their loincloths. The Native American guests did not wear feathered headdresses. Those were worn by the Plains Indians. The Pilgrim men wore long sleeved shirts and pants of varying colors with jackets, woolen stockings and stocking caps. Buckles had not yet come into use. Pilgrim women and girls wore colorful long dresses. Black and white was reserved for Sundays.
9. The Festivities: The first Thanksgiving was a harvest festival celebrating the abundance of food. It involved not only feasting, but also singing, dancing, and playing games. The boys and men practiced target shooting with English muskets, while the Wampanoag males shot bows and arrows. There were athletic competitions such as hand wresting and racing. Although there was no Thanksgiving football game to watch back then, the first Thanksgiving attendees did play a croquet like game called “stool ball” using a leather ball filled with feathers.
10. The National Holiday: Thanksgiving was not made an official national holiday until 1863 when a popular ladies magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale successfully convinced Abraham Lincoln to do so. Our sixteenth president thought such a holiday of giving thanks would be a good way to unite our nation.

Lori Jordan-Rice
Author of the “Miss Trimble’s Trapdoor” children’s book series

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Thank you Bethesda Christian School

November 22nd, 2009

I would like to thank the students and staff of Bethesda Christian School for their kindess and graciousness during my recent presentation at their campus. I am not easily impressed, but this school really knocked my socks off. From the time I walked in the building and was offered a bottled water until I was packing my materials away in my trunk with the help of two courteous fifth grade boys, I felt more like royalty than a lowly local children’s author. I have a sneaking suspicion that all visitors at BCS receive the royal treatment.

It seemed second nature for the children to show such respect with not just their words, but with their actions. During my HOUR LONG presentation with kids as young as third grade, I kept an eye out for the inevitable redirections necessary to regain wandering young minds. I had my toolbox of teacher methods ready. Not once did I need to use a single one! The closest I came was getting to compliment my audience on their attentiveness and manners. Even when I sprinkled my speech with a bit of silly audience participation, they hung on my every word.

At the conclusion of the presentation, I had the pleasure of talking one on one to a line of amazing kids while I signed their books. No pushing, no typical off task chit chat with their neighbors, no impatience in line at all. I lost track of time a bit talking with these little people. Each one thanked me. Did I mention no teachers or other adults of any kind were supervising?

As if this were all not heartwarming enough, a high school student witnessed the little girl in front of her dig helplessly for the last dollar she needed to buy a book. The older girl paused from asking me questions (I later learned she worked for the school newspaper) to retrieve a dollar of her own for the younger girl and thank me for my time.

Whatever BCS parents and teachers are doing, they are doing it right. Kudos!

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High Country Elementary Does Author Visits Right

November 17th, 2009

I cannot say enough positive things about High Country Elementary and their staff and students. I had the pleasure of speaking with the third, fourth, and fifth graders on November 10. High Country’s librarian, Bev Wiley, went over and beyond the call of duty in setting up handy equipment that apparently has come into use since I left the classroom. Ah, the joys of technology! She even brought me in lunch and invited me to the sacred teacher’s lounge! How special did I feel!

The teachers were wonderful. (My apologies to the specials teachers who had to sit through the “Thanksgiving Thumb Quiz” all three times.) The students had such amazing audience manners. I enjoyed so much their attentiveness and enthusiasm. It was a special treat to be able to visit with the students who were kind enough to purchase a book as I signed it for them.   I get my energy from kids like these!

For all these reasons, High Country Elementary is high on my list. I must admit to being a little prejudiced, however. I am especially fond of the little blond fourth grade boy with big green eyes and long eyelashes. He was the one blushing when the other students pointed to him, noting our relationship. He is the one who always has one of my bookmarks or business cards in his grubby little pocket. I hope I made you proud, Rylan.

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