Barley Sheaf School

FLEMINGTON, NJ — There’s a Chinese superstition that says if it rains on your wedding day it’s a sign of a prosperous life ahead. I chuckled at that thought two weeks ago while driving through a torrential rain to a school visit more than 50 miles from my home. I wondered what the Chinese would say about a blinding downpour on Author’s Day? Surely it was a sign of imminent death on the clogged New Jersey roadways where more than 600 people die in the nearly 300,000 crashes that occur every year!

TGIMI. Thank God I Made It, or I would have missed this handsome librarian waiting for me under his umbrella: IMG_6292His name is Greg Slomczewski, and he’s the movie star, I mean the librarian at the Barley Sheaf School. His last name is easier to pronounced than it looks. It’s “Slom-chess-key.” I had to practice it a few times. But it’s very hard to spell. Mr. Slomczewski said that he had often misspelled it as a little boy and had to practice spelling it over and over. Aww.

No wonder it’s taken me two weeks to post about this visit.

How to Get Over Your First Librarian Crush:

1. Procrastinate.

2. Procrastinate.

3. Just procrastinate!!!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me tell you about my marvelous day at the Barley Sheaf School in Flemington, New Jersey!

First, the third-graders were really enthusiastic and asked a lot of good questions:IMG_6299It was so hard to choose from among so many hands!

Thunder rumbled and rolled and rattled our bones throughout my presentation. It was so scary! I stopped at one point and confessed that the thunder was freaking me out and asked if any of them were also afraid. Many heads nodded. Sweet faces dissolved into worried looks. Hands clapped around ears to shut out the scariness. Oops. Something told me it was the wrong thing to say. All we needed was one blood-curdling scream or one crooked finger of lightning to come crashing down on us and pandemonium would break loose.

My body froze.

I stared at them.

They stared at me.

One wrong move, or one mis-chosen word, and that would be it. A stampede would end Author’s Day, just like that.

The air tasted thick.

What To Do When Author’s Day Teeters On The Edge Of Total Chaos:




So with the thunder rolling underneath our feet and the rain hammering on the roof and a penguin sitting on top of my head, I showed the color galleys to my next picture book, BRUSH OF THE GODS:IMG_6303It’s a calming thing to do on a stormy morning, isn’t it? Or maybe it was an entirely self-calming thing, from the looks on the faces in the above photo!

Funny, the thunder came in with the third-graders and left with them. How did that happen???

I’m sorry I don’t have any photos from my other presentations to grades K-2, and the fourth-graders.

But here’s a photo of the lovely lunch I had with Mr. Slomczewski, the second grade teachers, the principal and the vice principal: IMG_6308I bet you can’t tell who the principal and vice-principal are. They all look so nice! And they were all SO incredibly warm and hospitable too! But I was still a nervous wreck sitting at the same table with the principal and vice-principal, I mean isn’t eating lunch with them putting you this close to getting busted???

Seriously, a big THANK YOU and hug to the Barley Sheaf PTO for so generously providing lunch from Panera Bread. And many thanks to Mr. Slomczewski for not asking me to work through lunch. When you’re doing Author Day, it’s so nice to have a break and to be treated to some adult conversation. Thank you to everyone who joined us :).

Here are my new friends who lingered after a presentation to ask a few more questions: IMG_6312Such as “Do you have a boyfriend?” And “Are you married?”

When you meet a bunch of guys on Author’s Day, it’s no different than meeting them anywhere else!

I was still smiling from the encounter when I started to sign books at the end of the day:IMG_6307A little table with a few books. I can handle this, no problem!

But after I finished, I was taken to another table in the inner sanctum of the library, where I found this:IMG_6315Yikes!!! And that was only what fit on the table. There were more books in a box! It was around 3 o’clock. I could hear kids screaming in the hallway and into the parking lot as they were leaving school. Oh, how I wished I were one of ’em!

By the time I finished everything, the clock looked like this: IMG_6316And all the signed copies looked like this: IMG_6323The Chinese were right about rain being a sign of prosperity! Wow! A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone at Barley Sheaf for giving me the LARGEST book sale of the year!!! Woohoo!

The movie star-librarian looked like this: IMG_6326Ooh, how I wished I had something intelligent to say after signing five hundred books.

But I didn’t. What do you say when the rain clears and sky looks like this at the end of an Author’s Day where they cared for and loved you like one of their own?IMG_6325You say thank you. Sometimes that’s all you can say. And you feel immensely grateful. Your car is the only one left in the parking lot, but it’s a good thing. It means it wasn’t towed.

You didn’t park here: IMG_6327But instead, you parked in the “10-MINUTE PARKING”:IMG_6331Do you think I should have gotten BUSTED for staying 10 HOURS in a 10-MINUTE space???

Thank you to all the young readers at Barley Sheaf for the perfect ending to a wonderful school visit season!!! XXOOs to all!

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