November 17, 2011

I Went to Manatee Academy and All I Got Was This LOVELY T-Shirt

Did I ever tell you about Debbie Remington?

Here I am with Debbie at the St. Lucie County Family Reading Festival last year.

She's one of those people who will do anything (ahem, ANYTHING) to get kids reading.  As the media specialist at Manatee Academy and President of the St. Lucie County Reading Council, she dreamed up a wild idea. 

Last week, every single student at Manatee Academy read books.  All day!  Short books.  Easy book.  Any books.  All day long.  Reading.  Reading.  Reading.  At the end of that day, the students had read more than 70,000 books.

Since they broke the record set last year, Debbie Remington kept her promise.  She kissed an animal live on the school's TV station.  This year, she kissed a python.  "Not on the head," she said.  And before that?  A hedgehog!  "That one hurt," she admitted.

When Debbie Remington asked me to visit her school, I said, "YES!"  Anyone who would kiss a hedgehog to get kids reading was okay in my book.  Debbie was also responsible for HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL being St. Lucie County's One County/One Book read for this year.

Boy, did they make me feel welcome . . .

And even more welcome . . .

I had the pleasure of speaking to the entire 7th grade (well, those who read the e-mail and got there on time).  And then the entire 6th grade.  The 5th graders, the last group, were crazy enthusiastic.  Bunches of them came up to tell me what page or chapter they were on in my book.

Half of the 5th grade students at Manatee Academy

When I was done, I got to give away some books, which always makes me happy.  Here's one of the winners . . .

Ryan, who told me he loves to read.

And then I was presented with this awesome T-shirt, which I will wear when I keynote at the St. Lucie County Family Reading Festival April 21st.

Another Florida author, David Mark Lopez, spent the day enthralling 4th grade students with his fantastic story-telling ability.

David Mark Lopez running from a bear . . . in his story.

What's the best part about doing a school visit?  The kids, of course.  They're so much fun!

Crystal, my escort, rockin' a pair of red sunglasses! 

Thank you Debbie Remington and the fine folks at Manatee Academy for a fun, funny, memorable author visit!

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