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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 4 - Boston, MA): Kate Messner's Generosity, Wellesley Books, MacArthur Elementary, Heartmelt Moments at Codman Academy.

(Last updated: June 21, 2018) 

With Stephanie South at MacArthur Elementary in MA. Photo: Janice Byrd.

In my previous post, I talked about visiting schools in the Philadelphia, PA area, running into Kate Messner upon arriving in my hotel in MA, and then discovering that I had left my laptop power cord at one of the schools in PA.

Just after breakfast in the hotel, I ran into Kate again. I told her about my power cord gaffe and Kate asked what type of laptop I had (I have a MacBook Air). "I think my power cord might fit," she told me, and offered to let me borrow hers to charge up a bit until she was picked up for her first school visit that morning.

Both of us went back up to our hotel rooms and came back down; Kate brought her power cord and I brought my laptop. Her power cord fit YAYYYYY!!!! THANK YOU, KATE!!!!!

When it was nearly time for Kate to be picked up, she texted and offered to let me borrow her charger for the morning, if my second school was also in the area, and I could return it to her afterward. She said her laptop was fully charged, so should be fine for few hours.

I thanked her profusely but said no, my second school was a fair drive away. And even if it had been close by, I'd be too paranoid about something happening and Kate not being able to get her charger back.

Still, I was FLOORED by Kate's generosity, offering to lend me her only power charger when she was in the middle of doing school visits herself.  Again....THANK YOU, KATE!!!!

Between Kate's extra charge and media escort bringing her laptop, just in case, my visit to MacArthur Elementary School in Waltham, MA went well, and tweets like the one above make me SO HAPPY - I love the idea of those students trying broken crayon and other found object art after my visit, and am deeply touched by that student saying that I inspired him/her. Thank you for sharing this tweet and the one below, Bethany!


 Also wonderful to meet library teacher Stephanie South (see photo at top). Love the welcome sign!

talking to students at MacArthur Elementary. Photo: Janice Byrd.



Thanks to Janice Byrd for driving me to the Apple store (Jeff looked up the location the previous night) so I could buy a new laptop power cord:

My media escort in MA: Janice Byrd.

Partway through the day, I got a call from Pietra Dunmore from yesterday's visits; she had tracked down my power charger and said she would mail it to Simon & Schuster. Thank you, Pietra!

Thanks also to Jeff of Wellesley Books for all his help with school pre-orders today!

Signing pre-orders with Jeff from Wellesley Books. Photo: Janice Byrd.

My second school visit was with Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, MA. One of my heartmelt moments of the trip happened at this school.

There was no microphone and I had to yell to be heard; there were times that I wasn't sure if I was connecting with the students. Afterward, however, I was signing pre-orders (one student pre-ordered and I was also asked to sign a copy of the book for every grade) and a bunch of the students came up to me, all excited.

At Codman Academy in Dorchester, MA. Photo: Janice Byrd.

Several told me it was the very first time they had seen "a real-life illustrator!" One young boy begged me to come back the next day. "Please, please, PLEASE come back tomorrow? I really want you to see a comic I made! PLEASE?!?"  (I gave his teacher my card and invited her to email me a photo of the boy's comic; I haven't yet heard back).

Moments like these really hit home for me, remind me of the impact my visits might have on these students, and how important it is for book creators to connect with young readers.

Thanks to librarian Kate Funderburk for her help at Codman Academy!

At Codman Academy in Dorchester, MA. Photo: Janice Byrd.

 Next up: Michael Ian Black joins me on the book tour at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, MA! 

See main I'M SAD Book Tour report here.