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WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour (Part 3, Illinois): Peterson Elementary, River Woods, Media Escorts, Questions From Students

Part 1 (Larry The Driver) – Part 2 (IL: Carol Stream, Science & Arts Academy, Avoca West, Anderson’s Bookshop) – Part 3 (IL: Peterson Elementary, River Woods, Media Escorts) – Part 4 (NC: Irving Park, New Garden Friends, Scuppernong) – Part 5 (NJ: Lincoln Elementary, Hillside Elementary, Books Bytes & Beyond) – Part 6 (NJ: Allentown Library, Monmouth Library) – Part 7 (NJ: Learning Community Charter School, WORD Bookstore, board gaming) – Part 8 (Wrap up + takeaways)

With AnnSchimmoler at Peterson Elementary

At Peterson Elementary (Naperville, IL), I was delighted to see that Aaron Reynolds had visited the school in the past:

Aaron Reynolds signed poster at Peterson Elementary

In fact, Aaron’s visited several of the schools I’ve been doing virtual visits with as well as some of the schools I visited on my book tour. Everyone raved about his fun and informative presentations. They were excited to hear that I’m illustrating a new picture book written by Aaron, SEA MONKEY AND BOB (coming out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in Fall 2016).

I hope to meet Aaron in person someday!

Love the student art on the ceiling in the Peterson Elementary library!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a media escort with me: Genene Murphy, who works with Bill Young Escort Company. When Genene picked me up the first morning, I had assumed she was just a driver. As we started talking about the plans that day, however, I realized she was much more.

ME: “Waitasec. You mean you’re going to be with me the whole day?”

GENENE: “Of course! I’m your media escort.”

As soon as I realized that Genene was going to be watching over me while I was in Illinois, I could feel my whole body relax. And I wasn’t wrong…she was FANTASTIC. She went with me into schools and helped to make sure everything was running smoothly. She asked so many questions that I wouldn’t have known to ask, like whether I’d be expected to sign books and whether there were special needs children in the audience. The latter was good to know because then I would be prepared if there were certain kinds of interruptions.

Genene also kept an eye out of my well-being, helping make sure I didn’t get too tired or hungry but also helping to keep me on schedule. Sometimes it was a challenge to do both, but Genene was SO great. I learned a great deal by asking questions as well as just observing her in schools.

She also took photos during my events as well as asking the school’s permission about whether I could post them online. Here’s one she took of me doing a found object drawing demo with students at Peterson Elementary:

I varied my presentation a bit from school to school, depending on the number of students, their ages, their reactions during the first part of my talk, and how much time I had.

Talking with K-2 students at River Woods Elementary (Naperville, IL)

I so appreciated the warm welcome that schools showed me during my book tour. Check out this wonderful welcome sign that greeted me when I arrived at River Woods Elementary in Naperville:

With Mary Giuliani at River Woods Elementary (Naperville, IL)

Another highlight of my trip: the questions that students asked during the Q&A. In some schools, students had questions prepared ahead of time. In others, they made them up on the spot and you never knew what they’d be asking.


Q: “May I have some water?” 

Q: “When do you get tired?”

Q: “Do squirrels attack people?”

My answer to the last one was (of course) NO, but then another little girl put up her hand and volunteered the fact that squirrels DID attack people, she saw it in the news. I quickly changed the topic. 🙂

 Rearranging my carry-on at O’Hare before flying to Greensboro, NC

After River Woods, Genene drove me to O’Hare International Airport. It was hard saying good-bye Genene; I so badly wanted to take her with me the rest of the trip! But I don’t think she would have fit in my carry-on, plus after me, she had another client to watch over. Genene was efficient, fun, easygoing and did a fantastic job at helping everything run smoothly, plus I felt well taken care of. If you’re looking for an excellent media escort in the Naperville, IL area, I strongly recommend her services.

I had several hours at O’Hare before my flight, so had time to rearrange my carry-on (in case they forced me to check my bag) and also look around. I loved all the art on display in the airport, including these benches. Turns out that the benches were hand-painted by Chicago teenagers as part of a program called After School Matters, which employs teens and has them work with professional artists to create unique pieces of art while also learning valuable job skills. What a great program!

My flight to Greensboro, NC was delayed so I ended up not getting to bed until pretty late (late for me, anyway). Stayed up long enough to do some prep before my pickup the next morning, then crashed.

Continued in Part 4