MONDAY, 7:30 a.m. I meet Patrick Carman in the lobby of the Hotel George on Capitol Hill, where he’s been staying during his appearance at the National Book Festival. We introduce ourselves as Patrick finishes his bagel & cream cheese, then hop into the car and head to Alexandria.
8:00 a.m. We stop at Hooray For Books! so that Patrick can sign some of our stock. (Hint, hint: If you need a gift, an autographed book is a great one!)
8:15 a.m. We head to Jefferson-Houston School for Arts & Academics, where we meet with the new J-H 6th graders in the library. Patrick does a fabulous presentation to the group, with funny stories of childhood pranks committed with his best friend “big-haired Gary.” At the end of his story, he wishes for an imaginary camera that would take a photo of each student’s mental picture of “big-haired Gary,” and guesses that no two Garys would be the same. He uses this concept to talk about the importance of imagination and reading — when you read a book, you’re the director, and even if your library book has been read 500 times before, when you read it, it’s a different story than it’s ever been before.
10:00 a.m. Patrick & I are off to Mount Vernon Community School, where we’re greeted enthusiastically by librarian Debbie Griffin. Patrick does a presentation for 3rd and 4th graders, showing goofy childhood photos of himself that have the kids laughing. After a short break, he does yet another presentation, this time for 5th graders. He talks about diary-keeping, and how it’s not necessary to keep a “word” diary, but instead to try a picture diary. He shows a couple of pages from his own diary and demonstrates the difference between what he puts on the page and what he sees in his head. In a move sure to be appreciated by parents, he encourages the children to try to recall something that happened at school every day and tell it to a parent at the end of the day. He says it’s great practice for becoming a writer!
Noon I drop Patrick at Reagan National Airport for his long trip back to Walla Walla, Washington. It was a great pleasure to spend some time with someone so easy to get along with and so passionate about literacy and children.