Ever since I signed with Schwartz & Wade 4 years ago to publish The Dandelion’s Tale, I’ve been preparing for a whole new world. I read to my girls when they were little every day and night, but I’ve never read a book, let alone a book I wrote, to children that weren’t related to me. :)
I was charged with 4 years of excitement when I drove out to Brooklyn last week to do my very first story time. And as usual, nothing was as easy as I had planned.
It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday. Somehow my teenage daughters were able to get up and out of the house on time, since they were going to help me read the book at story time. Samantha was going to play the part of the dandelion and Star was the sparrow. We picked up my mother and headed south.
Imagine my horror when we got near NYC and saw police and stopped cars everywhere! Turns out, my planned route to Brooklyn was closed off for a marathon. Casting my eyes heavenward, I crawled along into the heart of the city, avoiding blockades and changing routes. I finally made it over the bridge into Brooklyn and figured, great, I’m here, this will be smooth sailing to the bookstore.
Wrong. Brooklyn was closing its streets for their St. Patrick’s Day parade. I wish I counted the number of times I said, “You can’t make this up!”
Wending through streets I hadn’t been on for 30 years, my gps took me to a brownstone. No bookstore in sight. That’s because I had plugged in the wrong address! I called the store and explained that the travel gods were against me but I was close.
I finally found the store and parked illegally at the edge of the parade route. I asked a cop if it was okay and he said no one would care about my car today. Whew!
We hustled to the store and saw a dozen little kids already set up for story time. The owner had kindly been reading other books to keep their attention until I arrived.
I had barely taken off my coat before I was handing out stickers and little rubber bracelets to the kids. And then it was time for me and my helpers to read. The super small kids wandered and did their own thing while the older ones listed and joined in the fun.
And after 4 years of waiting and wondering how my first story time would go and fighting through traffic, marathons and parades, it was over in what seemed the blink of an eye. What I did discover is that I loved it. Al that nervous energy and doubt washed away in seconds.
I can’t wait to do more. In fact, I’m in the process of lining up a year’s worth of story times.
Now I just need to get a list of marathons and plan around them.