Anna and I took part in the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy's 10th Anniversary Festival at the Boston Public Library 2 weekends ago. We had tables with our books, and gave 5 minute presentations to a big round rug full of kids in the stately Map Room of the old library.
It was good to watch other author/illustrators, especially Anna who is fantastic with kids. I had to go last (curses alphabetisism!) when the kids were tired and figety. But the book puppet woke them up. And I'm learning the magic of drawing. If I've got an antsy or chattering crowd, just starting to draw will put them into a sudden trance. This is true with adults as well. It's a phenomenon.
One silent girl who'd been circling my table at a distance finally came and told me she really liked my drawings. I asked her and a couple others to make puppets with me. There was a choice of birds or fish. She was the only one who picked a bird, which was a simple posterboard puppet with a moving wing. I showed her how to make it fly while I puppeteered clouds and the sea around it. Though she'd been serious looking all day, at that moment her face lit up, and I could tell she felt exactly the way I feel when puppets move, especially when I make them move, and that was one of the best things I'd experienced in a long time.
Anna at the easle, and later, me, looking like I'm about to eat the pig I'm drawing. Thanks to Anna for the photos!