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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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For links to all of my #ImSadBookTour posts, see I'M SAD Book Tour 2018

I'M SAD Book Tour 2018 (DAY 1):
Leaving Toronto, Richmond Public Library, faces in the wall.

(Last updated June 16, 2018)

Above: Me, in Toronto Pearson airport, super-excited about setting off on a book tour through seven states to talk to young readers about I'M SAD, a new picture book written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by me (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Thanks to the kind stranger who took this photo!

The luggage you see above is the entirety of what I took with me on the trip, which lasted from June 4th through until June 12th. No checked luggage, just carry-on: this includes my laptop and various electronic device chargers, clothes, toiletries, printouts in case of tech failure, on-the-go art supplies, umbrella, light raincoat. I bring one pair of shoes. Michael Ian Black takes far less when he travels; Michael joined me on the tour a couple of days later, as you'll see.

Mirrored ceiling in front of elevators at Graduate Richmond hotel in VA.

Why no carry-on? Because I usually fly a lot during these book tours and if I checked a bag and it went astray, chances are good it would never catch up to me. I've been on several book tours now and have gradually finetuned my packing strategy; I'll post more about this at the end of my book tour report. 

Meanwhile, my flight from Toronto to Richmond, VA went smoothly (yay - this turned out to be the exception rather than the rule on this trip, as you'll see in my report). I took a cab to Graduate Richmond Hotel for my first night. This was my favourite of all the hotels during this tour. Always grateful to Simon & Schuster Children's for putting me in nice hotels. I very rarely get to spend more than a night in each, but having a good night's sleep and feeling taken care of makes a huge difference when it comes to coping with travel stress and being able to put more energy into my visits with schools and booksellers, be able to more fully enjoy the experience.

Graduate Richmond had a fun, retro feel. Sometimes I find this falls flat but the whole "school graduate" vibe really worked, I found, plus everything was in good condition, well-maintained, bed was comfortable. If I had a choice between a fun/stylish environment and a comfortable bed, I would always opt for the latter....and it's a bonus when you can have both. And LOOK, my bathroom had faces on the wall!

After checking in and prepping for my first day of school visits, and I headed out for a bite to eat. I asked the hotel staff where I could find good local fare, and they recommended Perly's


On the way back to the hotel, I found myself in front of Richmond Public Library main branch (101 East Franklin Street). I had to go in, of course.  

It was wonderful to meet Lekshmi P. at the Richmond Public Library! We talked about books and reading and libraries, and I made some art.

Back at the hotel, full of yummy Shpringen Katz from Perly's and mellow from a delightful bookchat and some art, I decided to crash early to be ready for school visits the next day, which was also the official launch day of I'M SAD.

Continued in Day 2: Launch Day, BBFB Bookstore, Ridge Elementary and Bettie Weaver!

For links to all of my #ImSadBookTour posts, see I'M SAD Book Tour 2018