Search the Site

WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? Book Tour (Part 5, New Jersey): Lincoln Elementary, Hillside Elementary, Taylor Swift, book jewelry, cupcakes and Books, Bytes & Beyond

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)

It was Stripes Day at Lincoln Elementary, in honor of the little girl in I’M BORED. Photo: Jackie Soroko.

I had been looking forward to the New Jersey leg of my book tour for many reasons, but one was because I had been so enjoying tweets by indie bookseller, Books, Bytes and Beyond. I love the sense of humor and excitement about children’s/YA books that comes across in tweets like this one:

I was picked up at 7 am the next morning. Part of the reason: MANY students in the Jersey City area had pre-ordered my books. YAY! This meant, however, that I’d have to sign a LOT of pre-ordered books during my lunch hour. Which would be okay, except that I also wanted time to eat and chat with BB&B.

So instead, I opted to visit Books, Bytes & Beyond before my school visits that day began:

One of my book tour highlights was hanging out with Mary Brown and Trish Bernabeo of Books, Bytes and Beyond:

Not only are they incredibly passionate about getting children and teens excited about books, but they are lots of fun to hang out with. While I signed books, our conversations ranged from books (of course) to authors to Star Trek to food to the children’s publishing industry. Mary is also Jordan Brown‘s mother, and I was delighted to discover that Jordan used to be in a band.

With Jackie Soroko and students at Lincoln Elementary (Wyckoff, NJ).

But back to signing. I find that while I can chat while I’m doodling in the books, I can’t chat while I’m signing with text. You’d think I would have learned from last year’s signing session with Michael Ian Black, when I started writing my I’m Bored-themed message in the front of Naked!

So our conversation tended to be sporadic. I’d sign a bunch of books, then give my tendons a break and chat, then go back to signing, etc. We still managed to get in a lot of fun conversation. 🙂

Chatting with K-3 students at Lincoln Elementary. Photo: Trish Bernabeo.

The first school visit was Lincoln Elementary in Wyckoff, NJ; Trish accompanied me to both schools that day. Many thanks to media specialist Jackie Soroko, who ended up doing more setup for my visit than she expected when one of the other staff couldn’t attend that day. And it was her birthday, too!

I discovered that Lincoln had declared that day “Stripes Day” in honor of the little girl in I’M BORED; even the principal was wearing stripes! Not only that, but Jackie showed me a table at the front where the students had their found object art on display, inspired by me.

I was so moved that I had fiercely tell myself dontcrydontcrydontcry and focused on the presentation.

Hillside was just as fun! As the students were coming into the gymnasium, I chatted with some of the younger students near the front. These were some of my favorite conversations on the book tour, when I had the chance to chat with smaller groups of young readers.

Sometimes they noticed my handmade book jewelry:

The earrings were made by library assistant Marj Engle via Etsy, and the NAKED!-themed necklace was a gift from my friend Diane Paine-Wheeler.

Talking with K-2 students at Hillside Elementary (Closter, NJ). Photo: Trish Bernabeo.

After my presentation at one of the schools (I can’t recall which one), Trish and I passed a girl in the hallway who said that the reaction of the students was “like Taylor Swift came to visit our school!” 

With Principal Mary and students at Lincoln Elementary (Wyckoff, NJ)

I was flattered, of course, but I was even more impressed by the fact that these students loved books and reading so much that they were HONESTLY EXCITED about the creators of the books. Again…kudos to the teachers and librarians of these schools!

Drawing the girl from I’M BORED for Hillside students

Between the school visits, Trish took me back to Books, Bytes and Beyond and I did more signing plus had some lunch. And CUPCAKES! I love cupcakes. Or rather I love cake in general and I also love miniature food, so cupcakes are like a dream food for me. And darn, I forgot to take photos of the cupcakes.

Chatting with K-3 students at Lincoln Elementary (Wyckoff, NJ). Photo: Jackie Soroko.

After my presentation at Hillside Elementary ended, I hurried out to the car. Why the rush? Because I knew timing was going to be tight re: getting to Allentown Public Library on time; I had several locals tell me that they didn’t think I would be able to make it. I told the driver not to break any laws but to please PLEASE do what he can to get me to the library as quickly as possible. 

To be continued (!)….