Tuesday, October 20, 2015

READING ACROSS THE UNIVERSE at the Humboldt County Author Festival, Eureka, CA

Signing books at the Humboldt County Library
Last week I participated once again in the wonderful Humboldt County Author’s Festival in Eureka, California. http://www.authorfest.org/ The theme this year was Reading Across the Universe. This was my fifth time at the author festival, and each time it gets better and better. For forty years the Author Festival Committee has been bringing authors–this year there were 23 of us--every two years for two days of visits to schools and a day of book signing at the beautiful Humboldt County Public Library. 
Authors at the Ingomar Club wearing our Across the Universe Bug-eye Glasses
In addition, there was a welcoming reception on Wednesday evening at the Morris Graves Museum of Art; a potluck dinner on Thursday evening with space ship table decorations made by local students and a wonderful dramatization of some of our stories by high school students; and on Friday evening a gala banquet, held this year at the Ingomar Club (the historic Carson Mansion) overlooking the harbor.
At North Coast Learning Academy
My first school visit was at North Coast Academy in Eureka where I spoke to three enthusiastic groups of children in grades kindergarten through grade eight. Before my visit the children had read a variety of my books (provided by the county library) and the wall of the room was decorated with wonderful artwork ranging from worms in the garden inspired by my book Wiggle and Waggle and paper plate zebra masks inspired by A Zebra’s World to drawings of sharks and the Taj Mahal. I was pleased with the good response to my presentations and the good questions. And I thank the parents and teachers for the delicious lunch!
At Kneeland School
My second day of school visits was at Kneeland School, reached by a beautiful drive up a winding road into the mountains above Eureka. Children have been attending this school since 1880! This year the 25 students range from kindergarten to seventh grade. I spent the first hour with the lower grades, where everyone had a chance to use my Wiggle and Waggle sock puppets to act out the story, and then, after recess, I presented to the upper grades. Everyone in the school had created cut paper art, inspired by my book A Day and Night in the Forest. Two people had even made porcupines–cutting out lots of quills! We all had a delicious lunch of homemade soup. 
"Worms in Dirt" dessert

Dessert, in keeping with the Wiggle and Waggle theme, was worms in dirt--actually brownie chunks with gummy worms. The students at Kneeland know a lot about real worms and have their very own worm bin. On a daily basis lunch scraps are contributed to the worm bin to be made into compost.
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the author festival and thank the hard working committee for making it all possible. I also want to thank my drivers who ferried me around so expertly: Ann Wieland, who gave three of us a wonderful scenic tour of the coast on our way to the hotel from the airport; Stella Hawkins, who took me to North Coast Learning Academy on Thursday; and Byrd Lochtie, who drove me to Kneeland on Friday and then graciously took me for a visit to the Sequoia Park Zoo in the afternoon. I also thank Eureka Books who coordinated the Saturday book sale at the library. The Humboldt County Author’s Festival is truly a community effort and a very special event for everyone involved. Thank you all!
Across the Universe cakes for the Banquet

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