Thank you, New England, for Seven Years of Author Visits

Today marked my last all-day author visit before our big move to California. I met with four classes of seventh graders at Boston Collegiate Charter School (BCCS) in Dorchester, one of my favorite destinations thanks to the Foundation of Children's Books (find out more about this organization, please--they have an incredible vision to bring authors into underserved schools).

BCCS has this to say about itself:
Our mission is to prepare each student for college
Boston Collegiate Charter School serves over 600 students in grades 5 through 12. Our goal is to instill in our students the expectation of college from the moment they walk through our doors. Boston Collegiate has consistently brought its mission to life: 100% of our graduates have been accepted into college! The majority of them will be the first in their families to graduate from college. In 2012, 100% of BCCS 10th grade students scored Advanced on the Math MCAS exam, ranking BCCS as first in the state on this exam.
Wow. Each year during my author visit to BCCS, I see this mission in action. These kids are focused. They ask great questions. Today one was taking careful notes while I spoke. I asked if I could see them and she gave me a copy:

Here are a few phrases that caught her attention as I was speaking:
  • "challenge: find a book you'll read again"
  • "rejected a lot"
  • "7th grade was her least favorite year"
  • "books widen hearts more than movies"
  • "no shoes in the house in India"
  • "stories are everywhere ... find your own"
Yep. That about sums up my presentation.

Thanks, New England, for seven great years of hospitality to me as an author. Since 2006, I've visited dozens of schools and libraries in all of your states, explored your lovely small towns and dynamic cities, discovered your great restaurants and coffeeshops,* and last but far from least, met your dedicated, passionate educators.

I'll be back for a week in the spring and a week in the fall to make the rounds. In the meantime, keep up your good work of connecting books with young readers. I'm going to miss being a part of it all year around.

*Check out the Cape Verdean lunch I relished today at a restaurant in Dorchester, for example—perfect, since I was speaking to many Cape Verdean students: