Alexander Hamilton School

MORRISTOWN, NJ — Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Alexander Hamilton School in Morristown, NJ:IMG_5914Looks like a large, stately mansion, doesn’t it? I love the Classical columns in the front, where I was greeted warmly by the librarian, Linda Murphy.

In the library, many historical figures had taken the best seats in the house for my author presentations: IMG_5915Can you guess who they are? Hint: the guy with the white hair is NOT George Washington.

I forgot to mention to the young readers there that I have a close connection to Alexander Hamilton and his nemesis, Aaron Burr . . . I live TWO miles from the site where Burr shot and killed Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey, in 1804. You can read about it here. It’s very creepy!

But my day at Alexander Hamilton was not creepy at all. In fact, it was filled with surprise and wonder and great fun and excitement from beginning to end. This is how it began: IMG_5923

Christian, a third-grader, came in early and welcomed me with his hip-hopping. Click on the photo to see him in action. He was fantastic!!! Thank you, Christian for such a special welcome to your school!

This is what I love most about author visits: IMG_5930The beautiful smiles and enthusiasm!!! Plus, everyone here was SO well prepped — they’d read more than one of my books. You have no idea how good that makes an author feel. I felt like dancing — just like Christian!

On top of that, they were super-duper good listeners:IMG_5947

They gasped at all the right moments:IMG_5944And asked some great questions:IMG_5941And took LOTS of good notes:IMG_5951IMG_5952IMG_5955IMG_5948IMG_5949Who says you come to an author presentation to be entertained? You come to work 🙂 !

It was fun, right???

We played a game at the end that made all the note-taking worthwhile:IMG_5960They got to make their very own SIK (Shakespearean Insulting Kit), and use it. Just like Alvin’s dad!

I hope you guys are also practicing your Shakespearean compliments!!!

Thou art such a joyful, happy, quick-witted, kind-hearted, well-read bunch of lollapaloozas!!!

Add that to your writers’ notebooks — a list of unusual words — like lollapalooza. I just love that word!

Here’s Mrs. Murphy serving pizza at Lunch with the Author:IMG_5935It was SO yummyful!!! Thank you, Mrs. Murphy!!! I LOVE pizza!!! I had TWO big slices.

When you’re an author, Author Day turns you into an eating machine! It’s not at all like a regular author day (lower case) when you’re sitting at your desk writing your books and not burning 5,000 calories per hour.

The last event of the day was my writers workshop. It was an unseasonably warm afternoon, and I thought for sure, it would be a soporific time in the very cozy library. I pictured speaking to a group of nodding heads and closed eyes. I would have it easy, right? Wrong!

The young writers at Alexander Hamilton were SOOO enthusiastic, they hijacked my workshop from the get go!

First, Hadley, on her own accord, stood up in front of everyone and read a wonderful poem that she had written about her little sister, Elizabeth. It  was such a loving tribute that it made Elizabeth blush and hide behind her hands, but only for a moment.

Then Diana got up and read a poem about being a pair of shoes, and everything that the shoes have to put up with by being on her feet. It was super-duper clever and Diana was ever SO dramatic in her reading! I loved it!

After that, Elizabeth got up and read something she wrote. It was only then that I remembered my camera, so here she is: IMG_5966She was very good! When you’re an author, and you have a loving sister like Hadley who’s also an author and writes wonderful things about you, it will give you this kind of confidence. You will find your voice. You may be the smallest one in the room, but you will stand up and be heard.


What’s more important to learn than that?

That’s the other thing I love about author visits. Your readers will surprise you, humble you and teach you things you would never learn on your own.

You will feel so grateful.

We had such a wonderful writers workshop, I didn’t want it to end.

Thank you, Mrs. Murphy, for a truly spectacular day.

Thank you, Alexander Hamilton HSA, for your generous support.

Thank you, young readers, for being so marvelous and inspiring to me!!!

And thank you for all the fantastic PDKs that you made too — here are some parting shots of them, starting with Nicole, who used a fly box, just like Alvin’s: IMG_5963IMG_5969IMG_5972IMG_5973Scary!!!

And not so scary:IMG_5976Very smart to have money in your PDK, just in case!IMG_5978Thou art a thoughtful, wise, well-prepared, wide-awake, PDK-carrying bunch of fantastic readers!


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