I had a fantastic experience at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum this weekend. Museum Educator Sarah Lyman emailed me a few months ago with an invitation. Would I like to participate in a book club for Champlain and the Silent One hosted at the museum? Kids would read the book along with their parents, then come to the museum on the weekend of the Native American Encampment to talk about it and learn more about what Silent One’s life might have been like. Would I be interested in participating? You bet!
The reenactors who took part in the weekend were fabulous educators and spent lots of time showing hands-on displays of everything from cooking utensils to weapons they’d set up on the museum grounds. The kids who attended had great comments and questions during my presentation, and the group was small enough that we actually got to have a discussion — something you can’t really do when you’re talking in front of an assembly of 300 kids. We were still chatting away when the next group started filing into the auditorium for a screening of Dr. Fred Wiseman’s Quadricentennial film 1609: The Other Side of History, so we moved our party outside and talked some more during book signing time.
I was especially impressed with some of the younger readers, or listeners as the case may be, who enjoyed the book as a read-aloud with their parents and older siblings. They had great observations, too, and reminded me that when we write a book and send it out into the world, we can put whatever age range we want on the cover, but that book will find readers of many ages — younger and older than perhaps we’d intended — and some of those unintended readers bring wonderful new perspectives on a story we thought we knew inside and out.
This was the first in a series of summer Quadricentennial events on my calendar. I’ll be reading & signing books at the South Burlington Barnes & Noble from 4-6pm on Friday, July 24th. It’s a "Lake Champlain Weekend" there; right after my event, Mike Winslow of the Lake Champlain Committee will be signing his new book, Lake Champlain: A Natural History.
On July 25th, I’ll be speaking at the League of Vermont Writers summer picnic, along with poet Daniel Lusk, whose new collection of poems explores what’s under Lake Champlain’s surface. I’m intrigued by this idea and can’t wait to hear his talk.
On July 29th, I’ll be giving a presentation for kids & families at the Alburg Public Library. And in August…I’ll be home, enjoying my family and summer and the lake, and gearing up for a busy autumn when The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z is released September 1st.