Thanks, Chillicothe Schools!

I spent the better part of this week in a state I’d never visited until now, Missouri, talking with school kids about reading and writing, and signing books in Chillicothe.  It’s a small city in rural Missouri (“The City in the Country,” they call it) with just about the friendliest people you’ve ever met. Chillicothe is also the home of sliced bread, something they celebrate on one of the lovely murals that grace the downtown buildings.

Here’s a picture of me with the dynamo school librarian who organized this visit, Laurinda Davison.

Mrs. Davison runs an amazing library; the minute you walk in, you know that it’s all about getting books into kids’ hands. Chillicothe kids are huge Mark Twain readers, and many are reading their way through this year’s state finalists list, which includes The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.

Author visit mornings here start early — with a special breakfast and book signing for the Mark Twain and Marathon readers.  Mrs. Davison put on quite a spread, with home-baked egg casseroles and amazing cinnamon rolls.

Then it was time to talk books and writing. I gave five presentations over two days, talking with readers from Chillicothe Middle School, Central School, and nearby Chula, a smaller district that bused in its entire 5th-8th grade for one of my talks. The kids had terrific questions, and it was easy to see that many of them are not only great readers but talented writers, too.

Thanks, Chillicothe & Chula staff & students, for an amazing first visit to the state of Missouri. You couldn’t have made me feel more welcome.

I’m home for a couple days, and then it’s off to Long Beach for TED2012: Full Spectrum. Can’t wait!