Friday, April 4, 2008


Wednesday I had the honor of giving the first de Grummond Lecture at the Children's Book Festival held at the University of Southern Mississippi. My talk was titled "The Power of Eating: How a Few Good Meals Saved Two Books."

I'm always a bit nervous when I start to speak to educators. I don't know why because they're usually my best audiences. This group welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm. Shortly into my talk, I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

Later that afternoon, Ellen Ruffin, Director of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection gave me a tour of their exhibits. As a writer who is fascinated by process, you can only imagine my joy at viewing some of H.A. and Margaret Rey's work. Ellen's tour made me realize that all my notes and manuscripts stored away in boxes could have another life.

Yesterday I headed off to Little Rock for the Arkansas Literary Festival this weekend. After two flats, changing out my rental car, rescheduling my flight, almost running out of gas, and getting randomly picked for a TSA search, I made it. I thought it couldn't get any worse. Then I awoke to find out that a tornado had swept through Arkansas. Many folks in the area witnessed a lot of damage. The news really put my bad day into perspective.

Picture notes: (Ellen Ruffin, Director of the de Grummond Collection(center) writer, Virginia Butler(right).

A USM student's art that I stumbled upon. She told me it was the cast of Sweeny Todd.

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