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Life on the Deckle Edge

Second Grade Authors Rock!

I just received in the mail something worth celebrating. In November, I had the great privilege to (drive through an early snow! and) visit several schools in and near Charleston, West Virginia. The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra brings arts to the schools with more innovative programs than I could possibly list. Betty King, Vice President of Education/Operations, invited me up as part of an initiative culminating in a "Song of the Wolf" performance for the students.

Students participated in all kinds of Three-Little-Piggy-themed projects. Ms. Adkins's second grade class from Flinn Elementary School wrote and illustrated their own original story, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS VISIT WEST VIRGINIA. I was honored to get to read it when I spent some time in their classroom - what a dedicated teacher and creative students!

Their three piggy characters (the Wiggle brothers - Wilbur, Walter and Wilson) end up travelling all over that beautiful state, with varying success at obtaining shelter - a tent and a cabin can't match the strength of Snowshoe Lodge. In keeping with the students' innovative approach and also celebrating their state, our heroes encounter not a wolf, but ... a black bear. The adventure is full of humor and fun, terrific and colorful illustrations, and a very clever ending (let's just say the bear ends up having more to worry about than bothering the piggy brothers). The story is also now a beautifully bound book, thanks to the WVSO and grants and support from foundations and West Virginia arts agencies.

What a thrill to receive my own copy this week! I was honored to write a foreword for the book, and a picture of me and the students in the Flinn Elementary library even graces that page. Most importantly, the names of each young author/illustrator are proudly displayed. And, my book is a signed copy - those same wonderful names are handwritten in the front. I got to see pictures of their official book-signing. The children filed into the library to be greeted by local dignitaries and media folks, and looked truly proud to be able to share their creation with the world.

I'm proud of them, too, and will forever treasure this book and the bit of time I got to share with these talented young students. The future of children's books - the next generation of their creators - looks bright to me!
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