I am just back from visiting some very impressive 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in Chillicothe, Missouri. With my book, Just a Drop of Water, being a finalist for the 2016-2017 Missouri Association of School Libraries’ Truman Award, I was invited by the middle school media specialist, Laurinda Davison, to come visit for a few days. I am so, soooo glad I went. The schedule was jam-packed with meals, presentations, and signings, all giving me the chance to interact with students on a more personal basis. These kids are smart, chatty, and funny! Seriously, so funny! And a bonus, they loved my book. Sometimes I can hardly believe it when people tell me that.
Here are some things I learned in Chillicothe:
- It’s the home of sliced bread. Another town had tried to stake this claim-to-fame, but an old scrapbook proved the honor belonged to Chillicothe.
- I am tall–seriously, I got that comment about every five minutes. Who knew?
- The students, quite literally, have some of the coolest names I’ve ever come across. Signing books was great character name research, but I didn’t get to jot a single one down for my name-collection. #Fail Tip to other writers: look up Chillicothe yearbooks if you’re seeking a beautiful name that is different.
- Not only are the students voracious readers, the teachers are, too. They even post reader names on a marathon reader board in the media center, and there were several names of teachers included with the students.
- The librarian/media specialist at Chillicothe Middle School, Mrs. Davison, is a ROCK STAR. She’s read more books than just about anyone I know and can recall specific details about each one. She brings in one author a year–personally fundraising and asking for donations to do so–because it’s important to her to expose kids to writers. I’m in awe of her, and you can tell by the way the students interact with Mrs. Davison that they, too, adore her.
- A tornado has never hit Chillicothe and likely never will due to the fact that the town lies near the fork of two rivers. I was beyond grateful to learn of this since the skies seemed a bit angry while I was there.
- They love to dress up based on the theme of a book, and they definitely didn’t disappoint with mine.
- The town’s buildings are covered in the most amazing murals. You should check them out online. Truly amazing, especially the library mural.
I miss this town and its people already!
6th grade 7th grade 8th grade
Mark Twain Readers Marathon Readers Marathon & Master Readers