St. Patrick’s Day in Western NY

My author travel this week was full of wonderfully familiar faces because I spent two days in Western New York, not far from where I grew up.  The students and staff of DeSales Catholic School in Lockport were all decked out for St. Patrick’s Day when I arrived Monday morning.

This visit was such a wonderful whirlwind that I never got the chance to take photos with the kids. I did get to hug Mr. Granchelli, one of their fourth grade teachers who worked with my parents and lived in my home town of Medina when I was growing up.  And then I spent LOTS of time signing books. Since many of my titles were available through the Scholastic Book Fairs & Clubs this fall, the PTA was able to purchase copies for students. I got to sign them in the gym before & after my presentation. I kept wondering if anyone would notice if I took a break to shoot baskets.

Thanks so much to Karen for organizing this visit and to all of the wonderful staff and students who made it so special.

Monday afternoon, I headed to Monkey See, Monkey Do Children’s Bookstore in Clarence for a book signing. If you live in Western NY and haven’t been here yet, it’s so worth the visit.

I was thrilled to see some friendly, familiar faces there, too. Here’s Twitter friend and Sweet Home Middle School teacher David Etkin, whose students have been reading CAPTURE THE FLAG.

I also got to spend some time with one of my very best friends from high school, Patrice Birner. We spent a lovely lunch catching up, laughing over old times, and making a list of our former teachers to whom we probably owe an apology. 🙂



Before I left, I signed the bookstore’s special author-visit podium! I chose a spot next to Natalie Kinsey-Warnock’s signature, since my daughter and have so enjoyed reading her books aloud together.

You know those familiar, friendly faces I mentioned? One of them belonged to my sister, who was kind enough to put me up at her house for this visit. She is the best in more ways than would ever fit in a blog post.

On Tuesday morning, I headed to Rushville, NY for a morning at Middlesex Valley Primary School, whose principal is my cousin Paul Lahue.

Paul and I were both the youngest in our families, so we were regularly persecuted by the older kids and formed a kind of bond. It was fun to see him in his grown-up element, running the show with a quiet confidence and greeting every child by name. He’s  just the kind of school principal I want my own kids to have.

When I turned around after setting up my computer in one of the classrooms, my Aunt Maureen had popped in for a surprise visit. If you’ve read my book EYE OF THE STORM, she’s the librarian in the dedication. She stayed for my “Story Puzzles” writing workshop with the 2nd graders.

Thanks so much to everyone who made my visit to Western New York so magical this week!






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