Hi – this is Humphrey squeaking and just this once, I’m taking over Betty G. Birney’s blog because her paw is all worn out from signing lots and lots of books! She’s been spinning like crazy, all over the U.S. (and even across the border) since mid-April to talk about my books. She says an airplane would be a very dangerous place for a small hamster like me but I’m pretty brave for a small creature and I’d like to try it sometime.
She started out in Vancouver, Canada, where she spoke at several schools and public events, sponsored by Kidsbooks. She LOVED-LOVED-LOVED Vancouver and showed me this photo she took when her plane home took off from Salt Lake City.
With Tuan Nguyen of Mackin and Cynthia Oubre, Kolter Elementary School librarian
Betty came home to re-pack and then – whoosh – off to Houston to visit Kolter Elementary School – which had won her visit in a contest sponsored by Mackin, an educational resources company. Too bad they don’t let hamsters on airplanes, because I think I’d be quite a prize to win! Kolter is an outstanding school … and they even have a buffalo. I’m not sure it’s real, but Betty says they have a prairie and a garden which among other things, yielded 200 pounds of sweet potatoes last year!
Betty at IRA
From Houston, she went – whoosh- directly to the IRA (International Reading Association) Conference in San Antonio. I do love it when Mrs. Brisbane reads to us! It was fiesta time in San Antonio (sort of like Mardi Gras), but it’s always a fiesta when Betty get to hang out with the people from her publisher, Penguin … especially her editor, Susan Kochan! She spoke at the One School One Book symposium, put together by Read to Them, a terrific non-profit which is growing the One School One Book program and expanding my unsqueakably wonderful audience!
Betty celebrating with John Rocco, Sarah Weeks and Jordan Sonnenblick at AIA
Whoosh – Betty left the hotel in San Antonio at 5:00 am to head to Rochester Hills, MI for Authors in April. I know she’d been looking forward to it for a long time because she was there with some really great people. Author, illustrator and Caldecott Honor Medal winner John Rocco spoke to the kindergarteners and first graders and Betty says he can draw a great hamster and other equally cool things. He has a very talented paw! Sarah Weeks spoke to the third and fourth graders about her hamster-rific books, including one about Oggie Cooder – I wonder if he’s related to Og the frog? And Jordan Sonnenblick spoke to the big kids and taught them a lot about writing. I’ll bet he keeps his ideas in a notebook, just like I do.
They were so busy, they hardly had time to eat … but when they had the chance, they chowed down on food that looks even tastier than my Nutri-Nibbles.
Betty spoke to the second and third graders at fifteen schools, attended a fancy banquet, did a library event and signed more books than she’s ever signed in one place before. She says the kids in Rochester and Rochester Hills are BIG-BIG-BIG Humphrey fans – so I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE them!
Birthday girl Betty G.
She even spent her birthday there … and they celebrated at a fiesta at a Mexican restaurant. She says they don’t allow hamsters there either! Mostly, though, she talked about how wonderfully she was treated and how much fun the week was. (Note to self: find out when I have a birthday, please!)
Betty returned to Los Angeles, packed her bags again and – whoosh – she headed up to Bakersfield, CA. This time she went in a car and I know for a fact that they allow hamsters in cars. But she said it was 100 degrees in Bakersfield when she arrived and I must say, we hamsters don’t like weather that’s too hot or too cold.
Again, Betty was paired up with unsqueakably great writers. They were busy, speaking all day at different schools. She spoke to big groups of kids there – I’d love to give them all great big hamster hugs! It was mostly work, but there was a banquet, speaking at the Kern County Young Authors Fair AND some of the writers sneaked out one night and went to Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace for a hootin’ and hollerin’ good time. (Hootin’ and hollerin’ hurts my small hamster ears.)
Betty’s home again and she says she’s never traveling again … but I happen to know that she’s going to the Edinburgh BookFest at the end of August and squeaking about me! Then off to London. Oh, how I’d love to shake paws with the Queen!
But I have to scurry off now, because now MY paw is tired.
Signing off …. your furry pal HUMPHREY