Sunday, May 19, 2013

CHARGING AROUND MONTGOMREY Co.Week 3 Day 9  April 16, 2013

I am so sorry that I don't have a picture of today's chariot.  Cheri Crow showed up in a shiny black Charger and if laughter was fuel we could have powered that baby all the way to the San Francisco Bay.  But we had other stops to make, starting with Upper Dublin.
This is where I found a little girl who looks exactly like Tess.  I try to be discrete about showing children's faces, so you'll have to take my word for it. 
This often happens.  I'll draw a character and later see the real person.  I have, on occasion, told someone that I have imagined them and drawn them in a picture book.  Their responses are not at all what I would expect. 
Is it a matter of finding what we are looking for or is it the universe conspiring?

Next stop, North Wales.   Thanks for a spring-y display in your library filled with light and books.

Regina and Cheri.
         Not only were there pre-schoolers present but Mr. Sylvester's very sophisticated class of 2nd graders peppered me with some original questions that really made me stop and think. Thanks Mr. Sylvester for  challenging your students who in turn challenged me! Your "Double Stuff Oreo" rubric set a delectable standard.

Whitemarsh Elementary ended their day with me, after which we headed toward Lower Providence Community Library for an evening.  Children's Librarian Sandrah Moles, with the help of teen volunteers created and staffed many games for the games for the kids to play while parents visited and books were signed.  

Little giants drive through town.  Map by me.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Full speed ahead for Reading

READING IN READING                WEEK 3   DAY 8  APRIL 15, 2013       
At the Reading Library I reconnected with Bronwen Gamble, and we welcomed
a busload of boys and girls.

Initially we'd set up the projector and screen but decided that show and tell would be cozier for the group.  This was going well except for one fellow who really wanted to see a movie.  There was a screen, he reasoned, so where was the movie?  I'm pretty sure that if his mother asks him about the visit to the library he'll say it was OK but there was no movie. 
It was a treat to have Mayra Sepulveda read Nuestro Autobus with me.  She really played the crowd and got all the laughs.  I love to hear my words in another language. 
Despite getting excellent directions to our next stop, sometimes it helps to have a co-pilot. 
Thanks Jeanette!
And thanks to my friend Susan Magee-Bibi for introducing me to Jicama with lime - a crisp, fresh root that I've since shared with my friends at home.  The last time we were together we had enchiladas at a lunch wagon and they were the best ever. 
Thanks, Susan, for broadening my culinary world. 
Can you believe this view? The haze of pink blossoms takes my breath away.  This is the approach to the Brandywine Community Library in Topton. 
The audience ranged in age from 4 to 80, from area pre-schools and the adjacent Lutheran Home.
There was enough daylight for a leisurely drive to Glen Mills but Garmin Girl had something else in mind.  Take the highway?  OOOOh noooooo.  Is it possible that, like HAL in 2001, she knows me a little too well?  Knows how much I love a ribbony, serpentine road?  Scary thought.
That being said, here's the diner on Rt. 100 that made me turn around for a photo.  Maybe next time, I'll stop for a bite or at least to learn why it's called The Pied Piper.

Monday, May 13, 2013


                                                                                                              Week 3  Day 7 April 14, 2013
Central Library
This is the grand central entrance of the Parkway Central Free Library of Philadelphia, on Vine Street.  It is larger than several of the rural libraries that I visited.  In fact you might be able to
squeeze in three or four, sideways or stacked.  This is only the entrance.  Beyond are hallways leading to rooms filled floor to ceiling with books.  Downstairs is the Childrens section with wild foot prints that meander to a sunlit basement with an abundance of books and readers.  I got to visit with lots of young readers and their grown-ups. 
Many thanks to Christine Caputo and Rachel Fryd who created a great show for families who came for an afternoon of music and stories.  The music was fantastic, so I was told, and the stories were read with gusto, but alas, the author was stuck on the Schuylkill crawling in traffic at a rate of two miles an hour.
It pains me to have missed the chance to connect with all the families who had come out on that glorious Sunday afternoon.  It's right up there in the worst nightmare category with showing up at the wrong place or on the wrong date.  Apologies to all and gratitude to Chris and staff for ensuring that the show did, indeed, go on.

A beautiful Baby Reader
who came with her brother
and Grandmother and stayed to chat.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wayne's Library World

WAXING ELOQUENT in WAYNE CO. Week 2  Day 6  April 11, 2013

There is no “as the crow flies” in PA. 

Even they swoop

up and down the mountainsides,

while mere mortals drive the roller coaster hills

in tilt-a-whirl teacups.
Meet two new stylish friends from Honesdale.  On the left is my artist friend, Kaylee and on the right is another friend wearing my favorite footwear, pink cowgirl boots!


Wayne County Community Library, Honesdale

Northern Wayne Community Library, Lakewood

Hawley Public Library was also on the visiting list for an evening presentation.  And I discovered that their director has a sister, a children's librarian in fact, in Scranton whom I met on the last tour!  Small world?  Not really when it comes to the world of libraries. 
A very young listener who is already applying
the core standards to his favorite book.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SCHOOL, LIBRARY, CHURCH...STORIES                                       Week 2   Day 5  April 10, 2013

We gather together to share stories.  Children may be at their school, like Susquehanna Community or Blue Ridge or Forest City, all ready to listen.  Or they may have walked over to St. Paul's in Montrose, where the acoustics in the large community room are excellent and the children's librarian was a great partner.  We sang and talked together.  We all but danced together.  We thought of taking our act on the Abbott and Costello.
I am grateful to the teachers and librarians who prepared their children so well to listen and participate.
A recent chat with my friend Anna McQuinn, (UK publisher and author of Lola at the Library, pub. by Charlesbridge) helped me understand why repetition in kids' books is desirable and necessary.  Children are absorbing information at a most rapid rate and have little control over their world.  If you have read a book to your child 100 times, after that initial read, they have 99 new chances to get it right and to delight in their mastery.  I hope The Bus for Us provides that satisfaction, over and over and over again...

Lynn Lee House, New Milford, PA.
A profusion of crocus lined the path to the Lynn Lee House in
New Milford.  Now I know why people iron sheets.  Not that I
ever will.
I was treated to a new spring at every region.  Depending on the
 latitude or altitude it was bursting or barely there.

Can a library be adorable?  New Milford, PA.

Dinosaurs?  Definitely adorable:  Forest City


Librarians have vast resources at hand and with a huge territory to cover, they need to know the best backroads.  And let me tell you those back roads from Montrose to Forest City were the rolliest, twistiest, most fun I've ever driven.  My sons know they will never get me on another amusement park roller coaster, but as soon as we'd arrived, I wanted to do it all over again.  Not to mention, we passed a buffalo herd.  And you know what Roger Miller said: 
"You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd
but you can be happy if you want to."

Monday, April 29, 2013

ELKLAND and MANSFIELD     Week 2   Day 4    TUESDAY APRIL 9.

Marigold Manor B&B, a beautifully restored Victorian was the perfect roost before presenting to two groups of nearly 500 students each.
Marigold Manor, Elkland Pa.

This looks just like my mother's desk.  You might remember seeing it in
my book, No Place for a Pig 

It was a perfect spring evening for sitting on the porch just off my room.

There were throngs of pre-schoolers at the Elkland High School Gym.  Leslie Wishard and her amazing crew extended the BUS theme with smaller groups after the presentation.

                                              A sea of students at Warren Miller Elementary.

If it's time to eat in Mansfield, check out Cast and Crew -

All the dishes are named after actors and shows.  Pace yourself and enjoy! 

Trickiest pre-schooler question of the day: 
     "Why don't people live so long?"

I know;  I'm slow.  It will take me a while to catch up and I can't wait to tell you about Susquehanna County. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

17 + 59 + 6 = scenic views and crumbling relics

Is it possible that you are wondering where I am?  Having set out with the best of intentions, I find myself falling woefully behind in my travel blog.
There are so many ways to look at this trip but by the end of the day I am looking for a good night's sleep.

I meant to tell you about arriving in Warren late at night.  First of all,  if you are traveling west on 17 (the future 86) after dark on a Sunday night, it is wise to thnk about how few exits with gas stations there are once you pass Sayre.  Of the few, how many are within a mile of the exit and open.  Oh, I was lucky.  The orange light hadn't yet blinked by the time I pulled up to a pump.  I just hate to play see if you can make it!

Plunging into Pennsylvania the night was aglow, like a sci-fi city, in Bradford and later in Warren with the lights from the refineries.  There were also a few bear crossing signs.  Deer, tractor and horse signs are not uncommon along country roads, but this woke me right up.  I would not gladly cross a bear.
After that, the road to Warren was taken at a cautious pace and I passed more deer than cars.

After my wonderful day in Warren, which you already know about, I wanted to see route 59 in the daylight.
Kinzua Dam was the scenic highlight along with some surprise vistas. 

[random thought:  There is also a Kinzua, Oregon, near the town of Fossil, where my great auntie Babe lived.]

59 connects with 6, one of my favorite PA routes and that took me to the scene of a very unusual house.
Just west of Port Allegheny is a Usonian-style house in a sad state of disrepair.  The growing pines now tower over the horizontal lines of what must have been a majestic spread with a beautiful view.
A spooky counterpoint to this modern design is in Coudersport. 
Gomez and Morticia would feel right at home.

 All this along the way to Elkland and Mansfield.