Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meeting Baby Mouse!


I'm a little stumped as to how to even start this post, because the chain of events that led to meeting Jenni and Matt Holm were years in the making.

I read Jenni Holm's book, Our Only May Amelia, when it was first published in 2000. I loved the book, and it was my first introduction to Jenni.  My 4th grade students in California often chose this book as their independent reading book selection.

Fast forward 10 years which included 2 country moves and my marriage to David.  While working at Hong Kong International School, I was reintroduced to Jenni Holm by the most awesome librarian EVAH, Amy Robinson.  She often came into my 3/4 combination classroom to do book talks.  One series she shared was Baby Mouse.  The kids LOVED them because they were clever and fun graphic-novels.  They were all pretty obsessed with graphic-novels.  

Now we are up to 2012.  David had reconnected with many of his buddies from college.  Through Facebook they were having some active conversations.  Sometime in this time period, David mentioned Jenni's name.  It blew my mind, that after all these years of loving Jenni Holm's books, that my husband actually knows her - went to college with her and is friends with her on Facebook.  Small World!  I was so sad that we hadn't made that connection while I was in Hong Kong. It would have been so fun to connect Jenni with my students, who were so in love with Baby Mouse.

Fast Forward to September of this year, 2013.  One Sunday, while reading the newspaper I came across an advertisement for the National Book Festival in DC.  (Side note - we went to this fabulous event in 2012 and it was amazing. I had the chance to hear Patricia Polacco speak, which brought me to tears. She is so inspiring!)  Lo and behold - who should be coming to the Book Festival this year?  Jenni and Matt Holm!  AWESOME!  I went to put this event in our calendar and was dismayed to see that we were going to be out of town.  Boo!

I shared my disappointment with David and casually asked if he could help arrange for her to drop by to talk to my students.  Remarkably Jenni had time in her schedule AND was more than happy to come by and do a presentation!  I was beyond elated, excited and grateful!

Both Jenni and her brother Matt, who illustrates the graphic-novels, came by the Friday before the book festival and did a presentation for 3 of our classes, including mine.  The presentation was interactive and so entertaining.  They called up several students to read and draw with them - what an amazing opportunity. One of my students was especially excited to meet them because he LOVED their new series, Squish.  I made sure to get him up there with the author, and he was over the moon walking away with a picture with the authors and a signed drawing that he created with Matt.  Super Hero status was achieved.

David was able to step away from the office to join us for the presentation allowing the college buddies to reunite after 20+ years.  Jenni and Matt are so kind and nice - and extremely talented.  Baby Mouse and Squish are wonderful books that reach students at all reading levels.  My only regret about this day is that we didn't have time to sit down outside of school to chat.  Now that we have met, I am determined to connect with them again and get to know them not just as author and illustrator, but as college buddies and friends of my husband.  

The story will continue….

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