The big tour is over, although I’m not home yet — I’m in sunny Palm Beach, Florida, meeting with some wonderful kids as part of April is for Authors — and I’m feeling the mix of sadness, weariness, and wistful joy that comes after the run of a play (or after a delicious and way-too-huge meal). I miss my fellow Endangered Authors and our diabolically smarmy game show host already. Sigh.
During our final few days, we had a fabulous time with the kids at Hollin Meadows Elementary and Mt. Vernon Community School in Virginia, at Meadowside School and Abraham Pierson School in Connecticut, and at C.H. Bullock Elementary and Ridgewood Avenue School in New Jersey. Huge, HUGE thanks to the booksellers at Hooray for Books! in Alexandria, VA, R.J. Julia in Madison, CT, and Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, NJ. (Get your signed copies at these locations now, Wereworld/Chronicles of Egg/Grimm/Books of Elsewhere readers!)
And now, without further ado, here are Jacqueline West’s Completely Unofficial First-Ever Endangered Authors Tour Awards…
Best chai: Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama. (Oh my god. And there’s more than one kind.)
Best school wildlife: The tiny chameleons skittering through the grounds at Carver Middle School, Miami. Adorable.
Best dressed: Team West at Palmer Trinity.
Most memorable student conversation: With Anastasia at Campbell County Middle School, who asked, ‘Have you ever had anyone tell you that you couldn’t write because of who you are?’ and then shared her own story with us.
Best comeback to host Holden A. Grudge’s snarkiness: 6th-grader Miguel at Palmer Trinity, who said, ‘This is the first time I’ve met a Holden, and I would have expected you to have the last name Caulfield, but instead you are just a phony.’ Even Holden was rendered temporarily speechless, but he promised Miguel that he would email his own comeback — when he thought of it — to ‘Miguel@meankid.com.’
Best beer list: Brick Store Pub, Decatur, Georgia. Overwhelmingly awesome.
(Adam Gidwitz, Peter McNerney, Geoff Rodkey, powerhouse bookseller Diane Capriola of Little Shop of Stories, marvelous YA author Terra Elan McVoy, and Curtis Jobling, over a barrel. Ha.)
Best bathroom: Little Shop of Stories (complete with The Books of Elsewhere poster by the sink.)
Best tale of a school visit gone wrong: Curtis, hands down. I can’t repeat it here, but the other four of us laughed so hard we hurt ourselves.
Best photo prop: West University Elementary, Houston.
(Geoff, Curtis, and Adam all live in a yellow submarine.)
Best celebrity sighting: The entire current lineup of Styx in our Chicago baggage claim. One of them was smoking an electronic cigarette. Middle-aged rebellion.
Most coma-inducing meal: This one.
(At Gino’s East, Chicago.)
Best kiss: From service dog Peanut, at Oak Terrace Elementary.
Most brilliant blog: Geoff Rodkey. This entry in particular.
Favorite Hotel: The Warwick, NYC. Schmancy. Hanging out there with my dear friend Emily (see her incredible work at Haptic Lab) made it even better.
Best Holden A. Grudge book pitch: It’s tough to narrow it down, but it might have been the peacock with the bacon tail, or the rainbow that became a boy with five differently colorful personalities, or the talking mountain of spaghetti and the German mozzarella mountaineer… (Please head over to the Wereworld Books Facebook page and see several of them for yourself –check out the two from April 17th in particular; you might hear me crying in the background–and if you’re in New York, go see Peter’s weekly improv show, Trike, at Magnet Theater, and know that I am envious of you.)
Two more sleeps, and I’ll be home.