DRAGON just flew in from [insert state] & boy, are his arms tired…

BUT…his heart is filled to overflowing! As is mine.

Dragon and I have been very busy over the last few weeks, visiting states from Connecticut to New York and then all the way to Wyoming!

Whenever I do author visits, I share that writing books is only a part of my dream come true. Because, I ask, is a book truly happy unless it has a child to love it? Thankfully, the response I always get is a most serious ocean of head nods. “That means that when you love my books, you are making the other part of my dream come true,” I tell them. That usually leads to a sea of smiles, the biggest one being my own.

This past month, Dragon and I felt so much love…and we can’t thank everyone enough! WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN was recently awarded Connecticut’s Charter Oak Children’s Book Award, an honor voted on by students in grades K through grade 3. Look at how beautiful this award is!

Charter Oak Award -)

What’s more, DRAGON now has a permanent place on the lovely literary tree painted on the wall outside of the library. Talk about growing – and nurturing – readers!

CT Library Tree

But the icing on the cake? Getting to meet so many of the students that voted when we visited Consolidated Elementary School! Thank you for giving Dragon and me such a wonderful and warm welcome! They even fed us pizza…and Hershey kisses! Now how did they know we love chocolate? Someone did their research! 😉

Next, it was off to the amazing Hudson Book Festival in Hudson, NY, where the day kicked off with a parade of characters…

 

HBF Parade

 

And continued with the pleasure of hanging out with so many more…

…like the phenomenal Ellen Hopkins (yes, my table was right next to hers *swoon* *fan girly crush*), the brilliant Kimberly Sabatini and the amazing Megan Gilpin:

HBF Kim, Ellen, Megan & Me

…the fantabulous K.M. (Kate) Walton and the uber-talented-recent-recipient-of-the-SCBWI-Crystal-Kite-award Kit Grindstaff:

HBF Kate Kit Me

The triple gooey fudge on the sundae? Meeting – and getting to share my books with – so many awesome readers!

And then…WYOMING! What a tremendous honor! DRAGON was chosen as one of six books selected to be a part of Wyoming Reads! This phenomenal program, pioneered by the amazing John Jorgensen to honor his late wife Sue (who believed that “until someone can read, they can’t really do anything else”), serves to place a hard bound book into the hands of every first grader throughout the state. The celebration, which took place this past May 13, could not have been filled with more joy! For more on Wyoming Reads, visit: 2016 Wyoming Reads

Here we are, moments before things get started (left to right: Director of Natrona County Public Library Bill Nelson, John Jorgensen, me, Youth Services Coordinator Jerry Jones and an awesome little reader):

WY Bill, John, Jerry, me, reader

Students were treated to story-telling in the library, a yummy picnic lunch and a program in which John shared the legend of the good queen Sue:

WY Reads Grinch Spell on Queen
Could the attendees help free the queen of the evil spell cast over her by the Grinch? YES! 🙂 By…you guessed it! Demanding to READ!!!

We were all inspired by Carol Mead, the lovely (inside and out) First Lady of Wyoming, who shared her book and spoke about the importance of reading: (DRAGON has a crush.)

WY Dragon & First Lady

 

And then the children lined up to get their books! Their little faces lit up like it was Christmas day! *heart squish* !!!

(Yes, I know I’m overdoing it with exclamation points…but can you blame me????!!!!)

Could it be possible to add icing to this glorious cake? Well, by this point, I must say I had enjoyed a virtual bakery of delectable delicacies, heaped with gooey goodness…! But yes, there was even a sweet topping here! Not only was I invited to partake in this amazing event, Jerry worked out some author visits for me as well…so not only did I have the privilege of thanking the 1200 children that showed up at this event (there were other festivities around the state as well), I was also able to meet with them in smaller groups at two different schools.

And while it may have been a dark and stormy day on the outside,

WY Dragon weather outside

…inside the schools, it was warm, welcoming and oh, so inspirational:

WY Dragon quote terrible towel

(Yes, that’s a terrible towel in Wyoming – go figure!) 😉

WY Park

Dragon and I couldn’t have had a better time! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Wyoming!

How generous were our hosts? Even Dragon received his own book at the event. Already missing everyone, he spent the evening reading about the fine people and history of Wyoming.

WY Dragon reading

Our dreams were extra sweet that night!

Of course, in addition to the beautiful people, we did have to marvel at our surroundings:

WY snow on mountains

Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without seeing a buffalo…

WY Buffalo

and maybe a horse or two… 😉

WY horse

All in all, it was a fantabulous trip!

Just the other day, I was asked if things are different…now that I’m a “published author”…

My answer? Yes. Without question. My heart is full. My mind is continually inspired by all of the love and energy shared with me. And my arms are dotted with tiny black and blue marks…

Because I keep pinching myself. Thank you, each and every one of you, for all the love you’ve shown me and my books. For allowing me to share my passion. For making my dream come true.

I am blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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