School Visits

Picture books, School Visits, Writing Craft

Author Visit: Aga Khan Academy, Kenya

I am thrilled to have had my first in-person school visits with kids since the height of the pandemic at Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya in June. Aga Khan Academy – Mombasa is a primary through secondary dual language, International Baccalaureate World School, with a residential option. Student leadership and community service are important strands within their school programming. The school admin, teachers, and support staff are incredibly dedicated and hardworking. I am thrilled to have had my first in-person school visits with kids since the height of the pandemic at this amazing school. The students made this visit so much fun!

I visited with Year 3, 4, 5 students in the primary school; read The King Cake Baby to the younger class and OPENING THE ROAD to the older classes. And they did some writing too. Students knew about Carnevale and one student even knew about Mardi Gras! They have also learned US history and that people are treated differently in America because of the color of their skin. And now they know more, soaked up that knowledge like little sponges. It was so good to be back among our future leaders. Some things are truly universal because one student asked how old I am! I told her old enough to be her grandmother. LOL!

My last visit was with Year 7 – middle school aged kids. The school asked me to discuss poetry. I promised they will love the poems I’d share from NO VOICE TOO SMALL. Then asked them to “show me” what mood they were in, because poetry is all about emotion and, at their age, they have experienced all kind of moods! HA. At first they were a little reserved, then I struck some poses, some cracked up, and joined in! Middle schoolers! I showed them the video of Charles Waters reading his spoken word poem about DJ Annie Red and they were hooked! They gasped at the story about Noah Barnes and were impressed with how Lindsay H. Metcalf followed rules to write a Tanka sequence about him. And of course I bragged about my friend Marcie Rinka Wessels, who writes beautiful and thoughtful Haiku, then shared my silly version “How to Haiku” when discussing voice. After the presentation, a teacher told me she saw a few boys chatting, walked over wondering what they were up to and they were engaged in a conversation about what is and isn’t poetry while discussing rap music. She was so happy! For the writing part, they started brainstorming and will write bio poems.

What a blast to be with kids again, and to visit with students at Aga Khan Academy – Mombasa.

Author visits, Picture books, School Visits

World Read Aloud Day 2021!

Happy World Read Aloud Day! I had a blast virtually visiting with students from the West Coast to the East Coast today. I enjoy interacting with curious kids.

And they never surprise me with their comments or questions!

These are from today:

“I’m a YouTuber, I know all about editing 24/7.”

“Do you get paid by each book you sell?”

🤣

I admit, I chuckled at the YouTuber but then asked for her name and wrote it down! You never know.

I got a WRAD Challenge from a friend to make a video about what I’m doing today. Here it is. Happy reading!

Author visits, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, Picture books, School Visits

Kings’ Day School Visit

It was a pleasure to have Keila V. Dawson speak to my Kindergarten class about her book The King Cake Baby! She really connected with my kids and had them saying words in French by the end of her visit.  She inspired us to write our own class book!” Elizabeth Gates, Kindergarten teacher, Rothenberg Academy, Cincinnati Public Schools.

On January 6th, the first day of Carnival, I had the pleasure of virtually visiting with Kindergarten students at Rothenberg Academy in Cincinnati. We compared Cincinnati to New Orleans and talked about things that are the same and different. Ok, mostly we talked about food!

And I read THE KING CAKE BABY. So happy to have inspired them to write their own stories, and I can’t wait to read them!

Author visits, Holidays, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Author Visits: Mardi Gras 2016

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School visits are a wonderful way for authors to share their passion for literacy and share the joys of living a creative life. This baby ran all over New Orleans, over the Mississippi River, and across the Twin Span Bridge! I am very fortunate to have met wonderful faculty and great students during each visit.

The kids and I had a blast reading The King Cake Baby and singing 12 Days of Carnival. My song is all about New Orleans food. And what food tops the Mardi Gras food pyramid? King Cake!

 

I had a blast and passed a good time visiting the following schools:

  • St. Pius X Catholic School, New Orleans
  • Terrytown Elementary School, Jefferson Parish Schools
  • Akili Academy, New Orleans
  • Abney Elementary School, Slidell
  • Westpark Montessori Magnet School
  • Homer A. Plessy Community School, New Orleans
  • St. Michael’s Special School, New Orleans

I also attended my first King Cake Festival, a benefit for Ochsner Pediatrics! And I ate lots and lots of King Cake! Maurice French Pastries won the People’s Choice Award for the second year. Delicious. Félicitations!

I am so fortunate to participate in this wonderful tradition and be a part of a very unique culture. And it’s celebrated year after year! Can’t wait till January 6th to kick off Carnival 2017. Mardi Gras Day is February 28, 2017. Who’s counting? ME, Baby!

Mardi Gras 2017 Countown

Author visits, Holidays, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Author Visits: Mardi Gras 2017

I had a wonderful time celebrating Mardi Gras 2017. The King Cake Baby and I ran all over south Louisiana parishes, visiting with students, parents, teachers, and school librarians.

As a guest author for Scholastic, I met many wonderful educators who work tirelessly to bring books into schools for kids. Book fairs are quite popular and the state is recognized as one of the top sales areas!  📚

And while there, of course, I ate a lot of different types of King Cake!  I even ate a King Cake hamburger. Yes. I. Did. The food truck @FoodDrunknola sold them at the King Cake Festival. To my surprise, it was deliciously sweet and savory. Yum.

I was fortunate to visit Impact Elementary School at their Family Literacy Night. And had delightful visits at Port Allen Elementary and North Iberville Elementary. Watch these Port Allen Pre-K students dance! 🎶🎶

Second graders sang the 12 Days of Carnival. So much fun!  🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶 

Kindergarten students at North Iberville sang “Five Little King Cake Babies“. Cutest babies and baker in the city!

The King Cake Baby and I love to Skype with classes, especially during Mardi Gras. We hung out with a great group of first grade students in Kentucky who knew all about Kings’ Day.

Just so happens World Read Aloud Day, known as WRAD, is always during Carnival season. So the baby ran west…to Texas!

All hail the North Pointe Elementary grade 2 Kings and Queens!

                                              💜💚💛🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶 📚

It was wonderful to see kiddos from coast to coast celebrating Mardi Gras, like this Girl Scout troop from San Diego!   💜💚

Every year I bring a King Cake to my tennis club. Guess who got the baby?

Eating King Cake during Mardi Gras is a longtime tradition and fun no matter your age or where you live. But no worries if you don’t eat any by Fat Tuesday on February 28th, there’s always next year!

                                                                                                                                               

Author visits, Holidays, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Mardi Gras 2017 Highlights!

I had wonderful time celebrating Mardi Gras 2017. The King Cake Baby and I ran all over south Louisiana parishes visiting with students, parents, teachers, and school librarians.

I was a guest author for Scholastic and met many wonderful educators who work tirelessly to bring books into schools for kids. Book fairs are quite popular in Louisiana and the state is recognized as one of the top sales areas!  📚

And while there of course I ate a lot of different types of King Cake! The strangest food I tasted was a King Cake hamburger. The food truck @FoodDrunknola sold them at the King Cake Festival. To my surprise, it was deliciously sweet and savory. Yum.

I was fortunate to visit Impact Elementary School at their Family Literacy Night. And had a delightful visit at Port Allen Elementary and North Iberville Elementary. Watch these Port Allen Pre-K students dance! 🎶🎶

Second graders sang the 12 Days of Carnival. So much fun!  🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶

Kindergarten students at North Iberville sang “Five Little King Cake Babies“. Cutest babies and baker in the city!

During Mardi Gras season, The King Cake Baby and I love to Skype with classes. We hung out with first grade students in Kentucky.

Just so happens World Read Aloud Day, known as WRAD, is always in February, during Carnival. So the baby ran west…to Texas!

All hail the North Pointe Elementary grade 2 Kings and Queens!

                                                                                

                                              💜💚💛🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶 📚

It was wonderful to see kiddos from coast to coast celebrating Mardi Gras. Mon amie’s daughter’s Girl Scout troop from San Diego celebrated!   💜💚

Every year I bring a King Cake to my tennis club. Guess who got the baby?

This tradition is fun no matter your age or where you live. If you haven’t eaten a piece of King Cake to celebrate Carnival, there’s always next year!

  Happy Mardi Gras! 

Author visits, School Visits

East Iberville Elementary, St. Gabriel, LA

Had a blast with the Pre-K 3’s and 4’s at East Iberville Elementary in St. Gabriel!

First we read The King Cake Baby.

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Then I found a baker to help me sing a song.

?

 

Then we sang 5 Little King Cake Babies.

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And Ms. Reames brought us donuts for a yummy snack!

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Author visits, School Visits

St. Mary’s Academy, New Orleans, LA

It was a real treat to read The King Cake Baby and sing the “5 Little King Cake Babies” song with Ms. Hutchison’s kindergarten class at St.Mary’s Academy. A perfect start to my day!

Author visits, School Visits

Hammond Westside Montessori

What a fun visit at Hammond Westside Montessori! I had a blast with the kids in Ms. Donnow’s 1/2/3 combo class. They sure know their Louisiana history and geography. We sang the 12 Days of Carnival and they learned to spell Tchoupitoulas. Yes they did!

school-visit-hammond

But when they learned the King Cake Baby tradition is not well known outside of the state of Louisiana and people don’t eat King Cake DAILY during Mardi Gras they were shocked! C’est ouf! That’s cray cray!

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She can spell TCHOUPITOULAS!!

Picture books, School Visits

Akili Academy in New Orleans

**Akili Academy Author Visit**

Fun school visit with all the Akili Academy K-2 classes during Carnival. This baby happily ran all over New Orleans during Mardi Gras 2016.

We read and discussed The King Cake Baby. Kindergarten students could not believe there are children outside of Louisiana who have never tasted King Cake! Oh my!

If your King Cake Baby runs away, check in your “JRO”! (drawer)

Author visits, Holidays, School Visits

Abney Elementary School in Slidell, LA

**Abney Elementary Author Visit**

What a fun, fun school visit with Mrs. Lewis’ third graders during Carnival. They sure let the good times roll during Mardi Gras 2016. I made my debut appearance on the Abney Elementary Morning Show! What a fun way to start the day. I saw future news anchors in action.

We read The King Cake Baby, and sang 12 Days of Carnival. Then the class shared their fun MISSING worksheets with me. This class has talent. There are many future authors and illustrators among them. What a fun, talented group of kids and faculty!

Author visits, School Visits

Terrytown Elementary – Jefferson Parish Schools

**Terrytown Elementary Author Visit**

The King Cake Baby ran over the Mississippi River Bridge to visit the pre-k, kindergarten, first, and second-grade classes at Terrytown Elementary during Carnival. The kids sure helped make Mardi Gras 2016 fun! 

We read The King Cake Baby, and everyone joined in to sing my song, 12 Days of Carnival. Scroll down to hear them sing!

These little tigers were a great crowd of students. The wonderful administration and faculty made this visit very special.

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Author visits, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Author Visit: Homer A. Plessy School in New Orleans

**Homer A. Plessy Community School Author Visit**

Had a great school visit with the pre-k, kingergarten, first, and second grade classes at Homer A. Plessy Community School during Carnival! They made my Mardi Gras 2016 very special. The Pre-K and Kindergarten classes joined in the refrain, “No, mon ami! You can’t catch me! I’m the King Cake Baby!

In each class, we read and discussed The King Cake Baby. The pre-K kindergarten and first grade classes joined in the refrain,”No, mon ami! You can’t catch me! I’m the King Cake Baby! The second grade classes sang my song, 12 Days of Carnival. They did a splendid job. Such enthusiasm! Bravo!

 
Author visits, Holidays, School Visits

St. Pius X, New Orleans, LA

**St. Pius X Catholic School Author Visit**

Such a wonderful school visit with all the St. Pius X third grade classes during Carnival. Mardi Gras 2016 was a blast.

We ate King Cake, read and discussed The King Cake Baby, and sang 12 Days of Carnival. The soloist for the 5th Day who sang “5 Bowls of Gumbo”, knocked it out of the park!

Author visits, School Visits

World Read Aloud Day

I celebrated World Read Aloud Day reading The King Cake Baby at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in their Seacrest Studio. Cincinnati Children’s is one of eight locations that has a studio funded by the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.

The mission of the foundation is to build broadcast media centers within pediatric hospitals with the belief that creativity found in media like radio and television can have a positive effect upon children and their parents during the time spent in the hospital. Access to stimulating multimedia can entertain patients  and give them respite from thinking about a procedure, or treatment, or length of stay away from home.

There is no better gift than receiving a smile from a child!

The King Cake Baby says, “It’s story time!”

   

 

Author visits, Mardi Gras, School Visits

Woodland West Elementary

Woodland West Elementary, Harvey, Louisiana, Friday, Februray 6, 2015

Thanks to the teachers, staff, and students at Woodland West Elementary, I had a wonderful visit!

king cake art

     

Author visits, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, School Visits

International School of Louisiana

International School of Louisiana , Friday, February 6, 2015

Such a wonderful visit with ISL! Thanks to Laurence Copel, the resource librarian at ISL, I had a wonderful visit!

king cake