Wow, Nebraska is gorgeous! I had no idea it would be so green and rolling. I flew into Omaha and was met at the airport by the lovely Karen Drevo of the Norfolk Public Library. From there we drove north and east, criss-crossing the wide Missouri, dipping into Iowa and South Dakota, eventually wending our way to Norfolk, home town of Johnny Carson.
I was not the only author invited to the Norfolk Literary Festival. My partners in crime were Deborah Hopkinson and Tony Varrato. It was fun sharing a car and a weekend with these two wonderful writers. Deborah’s Apples to Oregon is one of my all-time favorite picture books. Her new book, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek is a new favorite.
Tony Varrato (who kindly provided all the photos for this post) is the author of the young adult novel, Fakie, a gritty story, boldly told. He’s the kind of energetic, funny, inspirational English teacher I wish I’d had in high school. Not only is he a good writer, he can juggle!
One of the reasons for our visit to Norfolk was to give a writing workshop for kids. I was thrilled to have three unique and talented young women in my class: Krista, Aeriel, and Mattie. We did some writing, some giggling, some sharing, some reading, some more writing, some more giggling. I was really impressed with the love of books, the interest in writing, the observations, the immediate connection these three girls had. Thanks, girls, for helping to make my day so special! And remember what I said: keep writing, keep writing, keep writing! And also: keep being you, keep asking questions, keep dreaming! I know you all will go far!
After the workshop I talked to a great group of folks about how I came to write That Book Woman, which celebrates the work of the Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky. Many in the crowd were librarians themselves, and I always love talking to librarians about librarians, sharing the stories and photos of those early book women.
People came from far and wide for this annual festival (above are some of the attendees along with me, Deborah, and Tony on the end). The librarians of Norfolk are great organizers and motivators.
The staff of the Norfolk Public Library (pictured above) are real book lovers and troopers. (I hope you get some air conditioning soon!!!!)
Alas, at the end of the day, it was time to bid Nebraska adieu. I really enjoyed my visit. Thanks to everyone, including the Norfolk librarians and especially Karen Drevo (I’m so sorry I don’t have a pic of you by yourself because you, lady, are one stylish librarian!). Thanks to Deborah and Tony too for making it such a memorable trip.
Please check back soon because I’m going to add Deborah’s and Tony’s website to my list of fav websites (but first I have to ask my helpful husband and web monkey, Tim, how to do it 🙂