Harrison Elementary School in Cedar Rapids sits in an area much affected by the Cedar River flooding of 2008. Many families were forced out of their homes. Many homes were damaged. Many are still under repair. I have been to Harrison School in earlier times. I wasn’t sure what I would find this time. Would kids be quiet, beat down by a couple of rough years? Would they have energy or interest for talking about books?
I’ve always loved Harrison School and hoped for a good day with students.
I was not disappointed.
Students at Harrison School are excited about reading, excited about books. I told them how I had wished I could see baby Owen and so wrote Banjo Granny with my daughter Sarah out of that yearning. They shared stories of what they wish they could do– be a veterinarian, see a sister who lives away, have a puppy, spend some time with Dad.
They showed me the oak trees they are growing–inspired by Annie Livermore in Button, Bucket, Sky (Carolrhoda, 1998). Their wonderful librarian, Stephanie Rose, shared a friendship quilt made by Second and Fifth graders, inspired by Bizzy Bones and the Lost Quilt (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1988).
We talked about writers’ block, rejection letters, favorite books, where writers get ideas, revising, and the fun of a good story. We shared some hugs.
I was reluctant to leave at the end of the day, and hope I’ll be getting stories in the mail from the kids at Harrison Elementary School.