Now here's a picture that definitely expresses the gloom of an English winter!
You'll be glad to know (or maybe not) that my Newbery presentations went well yesterday. The kids seemed engaged and I got lots of questions at the end, which is always a good sign. There's nothing worse than making a presentation and being greeted afterwards by deafening silence or the proverbial crickets. I have two more talks on Monday but now that I've done it I'm not nearly as subconsciously stressed.
I don't know how teachers get in front of a class and lecture EVERY DAY. I guess the more they do it the less awkward it feels, but it's a bit like performing. You really do have to be ON all the time.
The only negative reaction I saw came when I urged them to give books a chance before giving up on them. I told them that reading a book is like building a relationship -- you have to give yourself time to care about the characters and develop a feel for the author's voice. Comparing reading to a relationship elicited an obvious eye-roll from one girl.
In other news, Dave and I arrived home Thursday evening to find a mysterious package on our doorstep. We were perplexed, since neither of us had ordered anything, and when we looked at the label we realized it wasn't sent to us at all. It was for someone named Tracie who lived at the same house number on a similarly named street in St. John's Wood, almost two miles away! The postcode was clearly not ours. It seemed like a very human error, but doesn't the post office have machines to read address labels?
Fortunately we work in St. John's Wood, very close to the package's intended destination. So I put it under my arm and carried it to Tracie's doorstep yesterday morning. I put it right into her hands, saying, "This came to our house by mistake." She probably thought I was one of her neighbors -- I didn't tell her how far away we lived!
I managed not to leave my phone at work this weekend -- unlike last weekend when I abandoned it on a bookcase attached to a charger cable. I didn't even go back for it. Being without a phone for a couple of days doesn't bother me in the least, and the library is pretty secure. It was sitting there waiting for me on Monday, all charged up.
Some of you asked whether I'd seen the stories about the school district in Tennessee banning the graphic novel "Maus." I saw that they removed it from classroom instruction but I can't tell from the articles whether it's still available in the school library, for example. Or has it been removed from the school entirely? At any rate, yeah, so ridiculous -- especially because it's about the Holocaust! How can someone object to eight curse words and one episode of nudity in a book about the world's worst genocide? Talk about missing the point.
As author Neil Gaiman said, "There's only one kind of people who would vote to ban Maus, whatever they are calling themselves these days."