Today I get to announce the total amount I collected for my Reading For Renn Challenge. First I want to thank every single person who supported my challenge by spreading the word, cheering me on and donating money, time and/or talents to help me out. The good news is that Renn has gone through his surgeries. The doctors have removed the part of his brain they think is causing the seizures. He is still in the hospital (he went in on October 28th) but it looks like he may get out soon. So far things are looking good for him. Mrs. Telles explains it all (much better than I can) at The Brain of A Jedi blog (click HERE to read more). He still has a long way to go, but he has his big smile back!
When I started this I was hoping that I would be able to raise at least $500.00 to help the Telles family with all the bills they are getting due to Renn’s surgeries and the fact they have to live away from home while he gets all his treatments. The fact is that the kid-lit community that I blog about is the most kind and generous part of the world out there. I was able to raise $1,552.00 BUT WAIT, it gets better. The kind people at NY Media Works offered to match any amount that I raised. I am SO happy to say that in total we are sending Renn and his family $3,104.00 to help pay for his medical expenses! It is really appropriate that this is happening right now because November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month and before I met Renn I was never AWARE how bad epilepsy can be. I am asking the Telles family that if they have anything left over from the donation to donate the rest in Renn’s name to the Epilepsy Foundation, an organization that helps tries to find a cure for epilepsy and raise awareness of it.
Thank you all – YOU ARE ALL AWESOME!!!
And now for something COMPLETELY unrelated…
Since many of you asked to see pictures from the Lititz Kid-Lit festival…
First if you’ve never been to Aaron’s Books in Lititz PA you should! Lititz is a very nice town and Aaron’s Books is an awesome independent book store! Click HERE to check out their website. Miss Sam (one of the owners of Aaron’s books, and Aaron’s mom 😉 ) told me that the book festival grows and grows each year. I can understand why! What is really cool about this festival is that kids like me get to take classes taught by some of our favorite authors and illustrators! Plus, the authors and illustrators interact with all of us. Also, this year was extra fun because my friend Neighbor Girl from the Stanley and Katrina gang met us at the festival! 🙂
It is a great experience! Take a look at who I got to talk to!
Amy Ignatow! Ms. Ignatow taught a really fun illustration class. We talked about rattlesnakes sneezing out unicorns! 😉 (and no that is not a typo). I read Ms. Ignatow’s latest book “Love and Other Fiascos – Book 6 of The Popularity Papers” on my way home from the book festival and I thought it was GREAT! I love The Popularity Papers!
Matt Phelan! I got to hear an amazing talk that Mr. Phelan gave on his book Bluffton and how it relates to the silent-movie actor Buster Keaton (who I really didn’t know who he was).
Mr. Phelan talked about his illustration process and also told us about really cool research he did into the life of Buster Keaton and the actor’s colony that was in Bluffton, Michigan. Besides being a wonderful book, I now have a new love for the story in it. I also watched my first Buster Keaton movie (The General). My sister watched it with me and both of us want to watch more Buster Keaton movies because we almost “busted” a gut watching them! 😉 Mr. Phelan said his book is a success if he gets at least one kid to watch a Buster Keaton movie. Well he got the two kids in our house to do it! 🙂
Plus, Mr. Phelan and I also had a good conversation about hats and how cool they can be and how more people should wear them. 🙂
Debbie Dadey! Ms. Dadey gave an exciting presentation entitled “Monsters and Mermaids” where she talked about her books and how she published her first book “Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots.” I learned a lot about the writing process from her talk. Plus she’s a super nice person and very fun to talk to!
David Wiesner! Mr. Wiesner gave a fascinating talk about his illustration process and how his books “Tuesday” and “Mr. Wuffles” came about.
He talked about how the stories started as ideas years and years before and that they really changed over time. He really stressed that you should “go where the story takes you” and not get stuck on what you think the story should be but rather what it wants to be. For example, “Mr. Wuffles” started out as a picture book called “Greetings” and there was no cat in it. He also said he is as surprised as anyone that he wrote a book called “Mr. Wuffles.” 🙂
I was very inspired by his talk. I learned a lot.
Chris Grabenstein! I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library in October as part of my Reading For Renn Challenge and I LOVED it! I was very excited to see that the author, Chris Grabenstein was giving a talk at Lititz. On the drive out to Lititz I brought a book I am reading to review called “I Funny” (I got an ARC of the sequel to this book, “I Funnier” to review and wanted to read the first book in the series, too). When I looked at the authors of the book I saw James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Cool! I think I am officially a fan of Mr. Grabentein’s writing style. 🙂 Mr. Grabenstein gave a talk about writing his books and read a bit from Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. His talk was just awesome. He had everyone laughing . Plus he seems like a really nice person (as a kid and a huge reader, I think it is great when you see that the author that writes the books you read and love is a really nice person).
A.S. King! A.S. King is the perfect example of how cool kid-lit writers are. I have never read any of her books because she is a YA author and I am a MG reader (although “Everybody Sees the Ants” and her new book “Reality Boy” (my mom just read that one and said “it kept me up all night because I wanted to finish it”) are on my TBR in the future list 😉 ) but she is happy to talk to me about books and writing. We had a great talk about Reality Boy and Honey Boo Boo and how weird reality TV is (just FYI – I never saw Honey Boo Boo, but I know who she is) and how the protagonist in her new book was forced by his parents to be in a reality TV show when he was very young and now he is all messed up (great plot for a book!).
I met a mother and daughter who co-wrote a book called CinderSkella. Amie Borst and Bethanie Borst! Bethanie helped her mom Amie write Cinderskella when she was only 11 (she’s now 13). Stay tuned for more on this because Bethanie agreed to do a Creative Kid interview with me and I will be reviewing her book!
Well that’s all for now. Have a great Tuesday! Happy Reading! 😀