Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More School Visits

These last few weeks have been very busy for me! A number of schools had asked me to visit and I was always happy to say yes, when I could arrange the date. Mrs. Sandy Neufeld asked me to visit St. John Bosco school in Brampton and I was very impressed with the big and new building and impressive yard and surroundings. I spoke to Junior and Intermediate division classes (2 of each) and they had good questions for me about writing. We talked about Canadian Disasters with the younger students and more about Leaving Fletchville with the older ones.
Markham Gateway P.S. in Markham asked me to come on May 11th and I could because I had a bit of time left that morning. Linda Karan had the Grade 7 & 8 students all prepped and we had a great hour together in their library. I warned them about the dangers of using a laser pointer and then proceeded to use mine. Hey, I'm a guest and can do what I want, right? Although I had an interactive activity planned in case the students got restless, I didn't need to use it as they all were content to sit and listen.
The folks in Uxbridge were very welcoming to me and a number of other authors on May 11th. They had their own Red Maple and Silver Birch festival, feting us with pizza, snacks and juice in the Uxbridge arena. Although many people were involved, I was especially grateful to Mike NeuBauer of St. Joseph school whose students 'adopted' me as their author-friend-person and I got to sit with them. There was even a fellow 'Rene' at the table, although she, (and it's always a she!) spells it differently. I met a fine bunch of kids and autographed a lot of bookmarks. (Sorry Renae, but it just doesn't seem right...) The Forest of Reading event in Toronto's Harbourfront I already wrote about in the last blog post.

On Friday May 14th, I visited Gordon B. Attersley P.S. at the request of their teacher/librarian Deborah Perrault. I was very impressed by Attersley school and the Grade 7 & 8 students I met there. Beginning with having pylons blocking a Parking Space for my car (a first for me!) I was hosted by Annika and Hannah (who was even originally from Brighton) and these girls showed me where to go and who to talk to. Mrs Perrault had prepared the students well, and all had read Leaving Fletchville. It was so nice to have so many challenging and excellent questions about it. I even saw copies of many of my favorite reads and books by authors I used to promote when I could. Mrs. Perrault has accumulated a fine collection of books for Intermediate grades and students there have a very high regard for writing and writers. Many students wanted to stay later, despite it being Nutrition Break and a fine sunny day to walk outside. The visit to G.B.A. was a definite high point for me.
(Mrs Perrault and a student at G.B.A.)
This Friday May 21 I will visit Mother Theresa School in Bradford, hosted by Liz DeSousa, and that will be the last visit in Ontario for a while.

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