Posted by: jeannineatkins | November 2, 2009

Speaking at Smith Campus School

I had a great afternoon talking about books at Smith Campus School in Northampton, MA. Thank you Sabra Aquadro and other organizers! And I got to listen to Patricia MacLachlan, author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, as well as many other books, read poems about dogs. Here she is holding a picture of herself when she was young.

Richard Michelson read from Did You Say Ghosts? while authors Heidi Stemple (back) and Corinne Demas listened, waiting for their turn to read.

What a thrill to hear Grace Lin read from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. It’s exciting to see such a gorgeously illustrated novel.

Librarian Nancy Brady took this picture of me, Grace Lin, Anna Alter, Diane deGroat, and Shelley Rotner.

There was a lot of professional talent in that room, but the students, oh my gosh. We were given gift bags where I found, besides really good chocolate, cards the children had made on the theme of Great Changers. Here are two inspired by my picture books. Inside one card Abby wrote about Mary Anning. An excerpt: “She loved the sea as much as a lion loves his dinner. She loved her work.” I think you can see that from the beautiful grin she gave Mary. Hey, prying out a seventeen foot long ichthyosaur fossil has got to be some fun.

And Lila wrote, “…Aani made a great change in the seventies.
Whenever someone said, ‘Can I cut down some trees?’
She would say, ‘No.’
… She was peaceful
She was as peaceful as one tiny leaf falling
Were you scared, Aani?”

Excuse me while I go try to write another book that might be worthy of these readers.



  1. “She was as peaceful as one tiny leaf falling”
    Now that is just beautiful. It looks like you were in good company all around.
    I’ve missed writing with you for the last few days–I hope you’ve had some time to work on your chapters. I’m hoping to join you tomorrow morning.

  2. Looks like an amazing day!

  3. What a lovely day!

  4. It’s tomorrow morning, though earlier on my side of the continent. I hope you’re not awake and functioning yet! But I’m about start on revisions and looking forward to you showing up with something hot and caffeinated in your hands. It looks like a very good day for writing.

  5. Thanks for popping out of your studio and saying hi, Laura!

  6. And lovely that you and E are feeling better!

  7. *swoon*
    This post is brimming with awesomeness! Sounds like an amazing event!

  8. I just discovered Patricia MacLachlan’s books this last year (I know, where WAS I?!)and love them. How fun to hear her and all the others. And off to writing…! 🙂

  9. I do think Sarah, Plain and Tall is a perfect book.
    Good luck with your tuned-to-fit you Nov. writing goals. Not to distract, but to add to your list: Helen Frost’s new novel in verse, Crossing Stones, is set in your historical novel’s time period, I believe. She mentions visiting Hull House as part of her research.
    Now I’m off to write, too!

  10. Only wish you’d been there, Jama. And I didn’t even mention the vegetarian lasagna; parents brought us lunch, and it was excellent.

  11. After a busy early morning, I’m here settling in to write with a cup of tea. I hope you had a good morning, and maybe you’ll be back for another cup of tea and a bit more work? Hope so. Here I go–I’ve got two blissfully free hours!

  12. Hi Jeannine, Great to see you Monday!

  13. Anna, I’m so happy to know you’re now living nearby!

  14. Oh, my! What a fine, fine bunch of writers, the children included. I wish I could have been there to hear you all talk.
    She was as peaceful as one tiny leaf falling
    Were you scared, Aani?

    A writer through and through, already.

  15. What a fabulous event – cool photos, especially students’ illustrations.

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