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Social Emotional Learning, Gratitude and Young Readers: I’M SORRY virtual book tour

Cassie Riva, Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi at the virtual I'M SORRY book launch event hosted by An Unlikely Story.

Thanks to all who helped Michael Ian Black and me celebrate the launch of I’M SORRY, the newest in the I’M picture books about kids’ emotions by Michael Ian Black and me (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers)! The fourth book in the I’M book series, this story helps children better understand what being sorry means, and how to properly apologize.

Special thanks to Cassie Riva and An Unlikely Story for hosting our virtual book launch event! If you weren’t able to attend, you can find the replay of the event on Crowdcast (I think you need to register in order to view the video; registration is free). Thanks to Publishers Weekly for featuring our event in their event round-up!

Painting signed I'M SORRY bookplates for SimonKids

I’m also grateful to all the booksellers (An Unlikely Story, BBGB Books, Blue Willow Bookshop and A Likely Story) and schools who invited me to speak with young readers! For those interested, both my virtual and in-person book tours are arranged by Simon & Schuster Children’s, and are usually arranged through booksellers who have a school outreach program. Thanks to Shivani Annirood for her help with my I’M SORRY virtual book tour.

Schools I visited (virtually) included Crestview Elementary, Wilkens Elementary, St. Michael’s Elementary, The Learning Community Charter School, Eldersburg Elementary, Katy ISD: Holland, Jenks, Kilpatrick and Alexander Elementary Schools, Spring Branch ISD: BCE Buffalo Creek, Rummel Creek, Spring Oaks, Hunter’s Creek, Wilchester, Spring Shadows, Meadowwood and Frostwood Elementary Schools. (Note: if I have any of these school names incorrect or am missing any, please do let me know….thanks!)

In addition to doing a reading of I’M SORRY, I talked about emotions, did a character and story brainstorming activity, and I answered questions.

For the schools where I could see the students and get their feedback during the creative brainstorming activity, I also enjoyed seeing their creations (I asked them to hold them up).

I continue to be grateful to the educators and librarians out who work so hard at enhancing students’ learning experiences with author and illustrator visits despite pandemic-related stresses at work and home, and having to pivot so often. Some of the schools I spoke with were back to in-person classes, some were hybrid (students at home as well as at school), some still at home.

Especially through the pandemic, educators have told me about the importance of social emotional learning with young readers. One of my goals during each presentation was to help students understand how emotions can be mixed up and messy sometimes, and how that’s OKAY, plus tips on recognizing and coping with different types of emotions.

As much as I miss visiting with young readers in person, one advantage of virtual visits is that I’m more easily able to show them my art process close up, and able to easily switch between various cameras (headshot, overhead drawing demos, second monitor with slideshow, iPad screen etc.). If you’re interested in having me visit your school, here is more info about what I can offer and how to book a visit.

Thank you note from St. Michael's school in Richmond, VA. Thanks BBGB books for helping to arrange this virtual visit!

Found object art thank you notes from St. Michael’s school in Richmond, VA.
Thanks BBGB books for helping to arrange this virtual visit!

Thanks also to all who contributed photos of them with any of the I’M… picture books to my Reader Gallery! You can browse them all here:

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