I just returned home from a two day visit in Killeen, Texas. On Friday I presented to five groups of kids at two schools. My morning visit was at an elementary school on the Fort Hood military base. On Saturday I was a featured author/illustrator in the Take 190 West art festival. I had a great time. But I'm tired. So tired.
Here are a few photos:
This is a group from . . . I forget which school. But I did three half-hour presentations to the entire student body in the afternoon (the group was so big, I had to piece three photos together to show all the kids). Great kids, very enthusiastic.
This photo is deceiving. What you see is me autographing a valentine for one child, with another child waiting. What you can't see is the line directly in from of me, with about 50 other autograph seekers, who found every single bit of scrap paper in the library to have signed. Kids are great; they'll treat you like a rock star.
Friday evening, Pat Anderson of Texas Overlooked Books hosted a get-together for visiting authors and illustrators. Pat calls himself an amateur chef, but there was nothing amateurish about the meal he prepared. It was absolutely one of the best meals I've ever had. I think Pat should reconsider peddling books and open a restaurant. Seriously.
Not wanting to drive with a buzz, I didn't drink any adult beverages at the party . . . I waited until I returned to my hotel room, where I had a nightcap. Here I am getting loopy with myself, a mirror and my camera (excuse me, I'm kinda off).
On Saturday, I was one of the featured guest on hand to sign books, and I shared a table with author/illustrator Brian Floca (who I'm convinced will win a Siebert Award for his forthcoming title MOONSHOT: THE FLIGHT OF APOLLO 11). Brian and I also sat on an illustration discussion panel with author/illustrator Keith Graves, and illustrator Nathan Jensen. It was a lively and informative session for an audience of . . . three people, maybe four.
I also shared company with author David Davis and Jan Peck.
Keith Graves gives a painting demonstration.
Here's a more complete list of the children's and YA authors and illustrators featured at the festival:
Keith Graves, Sherry Garland, Brian Floca, David Davis, Jan Peck, Xavier Garza, Dotti Enderle, Christine Ford, Shirley Smith Duke, Nathan Jensen, Clare Dunkle, Jackie Mills — and graphic novelists Christina Strain, Ben Dunn and Rod Espinoza.
I was thrilled to walk away with a signed copy of Brian's The Racecar Alphabet. Here Brian signs my copy (And he bought a copy of my Ron's Big Mission, too).