Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why We Do School Visits

For many reasons, not the least of which is a letter like this:

Dear Todd,

Thank you so much for your wonderful presentations at Derby last Wednesday. I've had terrific feedback from both teachers and students. The Writing Workshops were both practical and inspiring. Connie Chapin, our 6th grade English teacher (and Head of the English Department) was very impressed with how you related to the 6th graders at exactly the right level for them. The large presentations in Larson Hall were funny, informative and perfectly tailored to each of the groups you were addressing. I loved the way you mentioned books that you enjoy, written by other writers. I've had lots of requests from students, teachers and even a parent, for the titles that you mentioned.

Thanks again for a great visit! Your books are flying off theshelves--always the best sign that the visit was a huge success.

Best regards,Judy

Judy Simons
Coordinator of Library Services
Derby Academy
56 Burditt Ave., Hingham, MA 02043
781-749-0746 ext. 57

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Petra and Pia Come for a Visit

My German editor Petra and her husband Joe and daughter Pia are living in Boston this fall. Joe had to go back to Germany on business so Petra brought Pia down here for a visit. We’ve taken walks, talked about books, and yesterday went to New York to meet Anne C. Voorhoeve, another one of Petra’s authors who was on her way back to Germany from a reading tour in Canada.

Anne is the author of, among other books, Liverpool Street, a fictionalized account of the Kindertransport rescue mission of 1938, when about 1,000 mostly Jewish children were sent from Nazi Germany to Britain. Many of the children were placed in foster care, but not all. Some as young of 14 found themselves completely alone, and unable to speak English, in London. Liverpool Street will be published in English by Penguin in 2011.

Imagine what it must have been like to be the parents of these children, putting them on a train in Germany, knowing there was a very good possibility that they would never see them again. I can’t fathom how the parents could summon the strength to do it.

It is shameful now to think that senior American officials apparently knew what was happening in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and did nothing to prevent the slaughter. (See The Abandonment of the Jews by David S. Wyman)

Petra, Pia, Anne, and I went to Central Park where we saw the Zen giant bubble man.

Then we joined Lia for dinner in a very small and tightly packed restaurant where we had to chain Lia’s bike and Pia’s stroller to a grate outside.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WYWD is Featured in Barnes & Noble Mystery Month

He Will Be Giant (Someday)

Richie and I went to a blues harmonica blowout at BB King's where we saw and heard some of the giants of the blues world.

And one 8-year-old future giant who could really play!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An amazing story about a white goose

This is one of those amazing stories you feel the need to share even though it probably won’t mean much to anyone else.

For years, about once a week, I have gone out to Long Island, picked up my mother in Great Neck and driven her out to see her sister in Glen Cove. And for years, almost every time we passed the park between East Shore Road and Maple Street in Manhasset, we would see a flock of Canada geese on the grass with one pure white goose among them.

I know it may seem strange, but I came to look forward to seeing that goose. I often wondered if he (or she) thought he was also a Canada Goose. Or whether the other geese even noticed. But basically, I just liked to see it year after year and know that it was thriving.

But earlier this summer, disappoint struck. Week after week we would pass the park and not only was the white goose gone, but so were all the others. I wondered if the town had found a way to get rid of them. Recently some Canada geese have begun to return. But not the white goose. Had it died? I sadly wondered.

This morning I was speaking to my friend Glen. He was telling me that the other day he took a walk by himself at Greenwich Point in Greenwich, CT. He said he noticed a flock of Canada geese … with one white goose among them.

And then he told me he wondered whether that white goose thought it was a Canada goose.
Greenwich Point is about 12 miles north, across Long Island Sound, from Manhasset, as the crow (or should I say, goose?) flies.

This is an absolute true story. I’m not all that surprised that, upon seeing the white goose among the others, Glen thought the same thing I thought. But really, what are the chances that he would see the white goose at all? And what are the chances that, having seen it, he would bring it up on the phone with me?