Author Visit at South Highlands Magnet School – Friday, February 6, 2009


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Katie & Caitlyn, Sales Team from Pelican Publishing Co. 2-5-09

Katie & Caitlin, Sales Team from Pelican Publishing Co. 2-5-09

Friends:

On Thursday, February 5, 2009, I stopped at my publisher’s office to pick up some books for my school visit on Friday. I gave the ladies on the sales and promotional team a special present from me and Marita Gentry, the illustrator of The Cajun Cornbread Boy. I asked Marita to create a necklace of The Cajun Cornbread Boy, which she did, out of Shrinky Dink. They came out so cute.

Then it was time to hit the road, Jack. I had to travel 5.5 hours to Shreveport, Louisiana for a Friday school visit at South Highlands Magnet School. I arrived at the hotel with 45 minutes to spare before my client, Jeannie Machowski, picked me up for dinner at Bella Fresca. Dinner was a blast. There were 7 of us altogether including the school’s principal, Keith Burton. What a fantastic group of teachers to hang out with! Plus, the food was divine. There was lots of laughter, stories (That’s Just My Baby Granddaddy! – Thanks for that one, Brenda!), and one of every dessert.

Dianne performs at South Highlands Magnet School 2-6-09

Dianne performs at South Highlands Magnet School 2-6-09

I did two shows for approximately 500 students. The first show was for K-2. The second show was for Grades 3-5.

Grades 3-5 at South Highlands Magnet School 2-6-09

Grades 3-5 at South Highlands Magnet School 2-6-09

For the first show, I told The Cajun Cornbread Boy. Then we did my song, Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam. I also told Rockin Three Billy Goats, and finally, with teachers on stage as my backup band, Tiger’s Tale, Anansi’s Stories. It was fun, participatory and the kids really rocked out.

Afterwards, I signed books and CDs for the students and teachers in the first assembly. Then it was off to lunch.

Dianne de Las Casas with Ms. Shaw's Busy Bees at South Highlands Magnet School 2-6-09

Dianne de Las Casas with Ms. Shaw's Busy Bees at South Highlands Magnet School 2-6-09

They ordered me a special pizza from a local eatery. My box said “Dianne Pep.” LOL That’s me! After lunch, I had my second assembly program for the upper grades. I began with The Cajun Cornbread Boy, sang My Aunt Came Back, told Anansi Shares Wisdom with the World, and ended with The Ghost of Mabel Gable. The show was a HUGE hit with the kids. They were so responsive. At the end, they gave me rock star signs with their hands and told me, “You rock!” Well guess what?! South Highlands Elementary rocks too!

Many of the teachers told me how much they enjoyed the show and the librarian said that several of the teachers said I was the best author that ever visited their school. Wow! That’s quite an honor because they have had an impressive list of authors.

Here is a picture of Sonia, me and Jeannie Machowski, the awesome librarian!

Sonia, Dianne & Jeannie at South Highlands Magnet School

Sonia, Dianne & Jeannie at South Highlands Magnet School 2-6-09

I signed more books and then packed up. It was such a wonderful visit. South Highlands definitely goes on my list of favorite schools. You’ve earned a place in my heart! I love schools that celebrate good books!

Celebrate Good Books bulletin board 2-6-09

Celebrate Good Books bulletin board 2-6-09

Happy Tales to You!

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne