When my daughter and I learned that Loree Griffin Burns was giving a presentation about her new book, THE HIVE DETECTIVES: CHRONICLE OF A HONEY BEE CATASTROPHE, in Vermont, we planned a spur-of-the-moment road trip to go see her.  We’re big Loree fans and besides, we’d never been to  Manchester before.  The event was at Hildene, the Lincoln family home, which is one of the most gorgeous properties I’ve ever seen.

The gardens were stunning, full of bees and butterflies.

We spotted a Monarch caterpillar on the milkweed. Can you see it?

How about now?

Hildene offers wagon rides in summer, so we took the opportunity to go through the woods to the barn where the goats are cared for and milked to make cheese.

Then it was time for Loree’s presentation. 

Her presentation was fascinating, and Loree managed to capture everyone in the room, from toddlers on up to grownups. Even though I’m in a critique group with Loree and read an earlier draft of THE HIVE DETECTIVES, I learned a lot today! After her talk, we headed out to see Hildene’s observation hive and have books signed.

Just in case you haven’t seen THE HIVE DETECTIVES yet, it’s incredible — full of amazing storytelling about an ecological mystery and gorgeous photographs.  Hope your weekend was full of good friends and good books, too!

Yay, Loree!

The kids at my school are still talking about plastic tub toys, floating sneakers, the garbage patch, and reducing their use of plastics, thanks to a phenomenal author visit with Loree Griffin Burns this week. 

Loree held the kids spellbound with her fascinating, high energy presentation on Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion.  They’re hungry for more high-interest nonfiction now and are waiting (impatiently) for Loree’s next book on honeybees.  Thanks,

, for a great, great day with our students!

And a related note that writers, especially, will appreciate…  Loree and I went out to dinner Sunday night to talk writing for a couple hours.  We ended up at a Japanese steakhouse where they have hibachi tables.  Our waitress came over at the end of the meal and remarked that they’d never, in the history of the restaurant, seen two people just keep gabbing away like we did while the guy at the grill was tossing knives and spatulas in the air.  In our defense, we did pause to say “Oooh…Ahh….” when he made the flaming volcano out of the onion…

Guess who’s coming to lunch…

My middle school students are getting a dream team of visiting authors this month. 

This Wednesday, Linda Urban (

) will spend the day with us, talking about A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT and her writing life.

And on March 31, Loree Griffin Burns (

) will visit to talk trash — TRACKING TRASH — with our middle school kids.

Are you jealous yet?

Meanwhile, HUGE congratulations are in order for both Linda and Loree today!   Both of their books have been selected as finalists for Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award.  Kids in Vermont will read as many books from the list as possible, and then they’ll vote to choose the winner next spring.  For the full list of 2008-2009 DCF titles, visit the blog of Steve Madden, librarian extraordinaire at Camels Hump Middle School.   It’s a fantastic, fantastic  list — one that will make you want to be a Vermont student, too.