The last two Saturdays I was out and about in my own neighborhood! First I read along with authors Sarah Warren and Shannon Gibney and literacy advocate Chad Kempe at The Warren Arts Habitat which is about one hundred yards from our back door (I’ve never measured). This event was extraordinary — Sarah and Shannon were fantastic to read with, and there was a wonderful group of people, many of them in the neighborhood. I even met a guy from the D.R. who was really interested in my latest baseball novel (which I read from). I had a warm happy feeling about this for days.
Today was one of the coolest events I’ve ever done — I did a book talk at North Regional Library (two blocks from B’s school!) followed by a robot demo by the Herobotics club at Patrick Henry High… it was like the characters in my novel Winter of the Robots had come to life! (The littlest person is my assistant, not a member of the team).
I talked about my favorite robot books from Asimov to Yaccarino, then the Herobotics club showed some of their creations. Byron got to operate a robot! At both events my wife had a great robot craft for the kiddos. Even the herobotics team took a break to make paper bots.
I received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to support my latest work, and these events were done to fulfill my obligation to the voters of Minnesota. But after doing them I realize the events are really what the grant is all about. Getting out in the community, promoting reading and robots, has been the highlight of my year. We really did reach new people and new readers. I’m lucky to live in a state that values and supports the arts as much as Minnesota does, and lucky to live in a neighborhood where people turn out to support local authors.
Thanks to Larry and Catherine, Duane and Connie for their support at these events! And a huge thanks to Sarah, Shannon, Chad, and the Herobotics team for making these wonderful events! This thanksgiving week I have a lot of thanks to give.