Mark Twain Award – Twice!
On Monday, I was in Missouri to receive the 2011 Mark Twain Reader Award for Stolen Children. The last item on the banquet program was the announcement of the winner of the 2012 award: Runaway Twin!! The committee from the Missouri Association of School Librarians had already engraved a second bust of Mark Twain and they presented it to me then. Two fabulous honors in one night!
To make it even better, I was seated at the banquet with my dear friend, Kirby Larson, who had won the 2011 Show Me Award (picture book category) for Two Bobbies. When the 2012 Show Me Award was announced, Kirby won, for Nubs. We still can hardly believe that this happened.
To make it better yet, Anne went with me on this trip, so my daughter was in the audience to share the excitement. What a night!
Please Do My Homework For Me
I sometimes get emails from kids who say they want to ask me a few questions, but it quickly becomes clear that they are trying to write a book report on a book they haven’t read. Sample questions: Who is the protagonist? What is the main problem in this book? How many pages does it have?
This week I had a different kind of “I’ll get Peg to do my homework for me” letter. Here it is:
I’m doing a report on tornadoes and I know you wrote about them in Runaway Twin, so if you could answer these it would be greatly appreciated. What is a tornado? How do you protect your house from a tornado? Which area of the U.S. gets the most tornadoes? How long do tornadoes last? How deadly are they? What is the average temperature of the center? How do you track tornadoes? Thank you!
My reply: If you do an Internet search for tornadoes, you should be able to find the answers to your questions.
Thank You, Teachers
On Tuesday night I spoke to a group of teachers in Lake Oswego, Oregon, as part of a series of classes called The Innovative Northwest Teacher. Teachers make great audiences. They arrive on time, they pay attention, and they ask good questions.
I have always felt I’m in a partnership with teachers and school librarians because they are the ones who put my books in the hands of their students. They read aloud to their classes; they book-talk favorite titles to get the kids excited about reading on their own, and they believe, as I do, that even in today’s world of electronic gadgets, a book has great value. Thank you to the wonderful group who came to hear me talk at TINT, and to teachers everywhere for encouraging your students to read.
For many years, I have wanted to enclose a portion of my yard with cat fencing. This is a special kind of fence that cats can’t climb over. It allows the cat to be outdoors while removing the dangers of coyotes, getting hit by a car, fights with other cats, big dogs, cruel people, and more.
Some cats are content being indoors all the time, especially if they’ve been raised that way since they were kittens. My new cat, Dillon, had lived outdoors for eight years before I adopted him and he made it clear that, while he appreciated a warm bed and staying out of the rain, he also wanted to sniff the wind and feel the grass under his feet. The time was right to fulfill my cat-fence dream. My son-in-law, Kevin, offered to install it for me, and he was ably assisted by my daughter, Anne, and grandson, Eric.
There are several brands of cat fencing. I chose Purrfect Fencing because the company sponsors a fund-raising event each year for a rescue organization that I support. I also installed a cat door in the window of my office, with a ramp that leads down to Dillon’s enclosed yard. Dillon has learned how to go out the door flap, but not how to come back in. We’re working on that.
I am so excited to have this!
AWARD NECKLACE 4/4/12
I added Connecticut to my necklace today, because Stolen Children won the 2012 Nutmeg Award. My husband, Carl, started the necklace years ago when he bought silver charms in the shapes of the states where I’d won the children’s book award. He had the back of each charm engraved with an abbreviation of the winning book’s title and the year that I had won. He hung the charms on a chain made of Idaho silver and every time I won another state award, he added a charm. Since then, I have worn the necklace every time I speak to a group of teachers or librarians – the audience who will appreciate its’ significance. It is always fun when someone asks, “Is your necklace all the states you’ve visited?” and I get to reply, “They’re the states where I’ve won the young reader’s choice award.”
The first time I won a state award after Carl’s death, Anne called. “Where did Dad get those state charms?” she asked. “Kevin and I want to continue the tradition.” Since then, they have faithfully kept the award necklace up to date and each time they give me a new charm, I feel as if I’m receiving a multiple gift: one from the children of the state who voted for my book, one from Carl who thought of a special way to show his pride in my books, and one from my daughter and son-in-law, who not only celebrate my successes, but honor Carl by continuing what he began.
Horned Toad Tales Award
Runaway Twin has won the 2011-2012 Horned Toad Tales Award, presented by the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, Texas. This is a student-choice award, voted on by kids in third, fourth, and fifth grades.
The wonderful horned toad arrived in my mail box yesterday. He looks rather ferocious in the photo; in person he measures four inches long.
Thank you to everyone in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD for this honor.
It’s hard to get much writing done with Dillon helping me.
It happened again yesterday. I received a letter from a girl named Amber who told me how much she loves my books, especially The Secret Journey, and how glad she was to be writing to me. She assured me that if she ever got to meet me she would not act all wild.
She ends by saying, “Please, Peg Kehret, write back to me. I would be so excited and happy. Please!”
Unfortunately, the return address on Amber’s letter says only a teacher’s name and “Mission Crest.” I assume Mission Crest is her school but I can’t decipher the postmark so I have no clue where it’s located.
I'm sorry that Amber won't get a letter from me.
Kids often ask for information because they’re doing a school project about me. Sometimes they send pictures of the finished project or a copy if it was a written report. I always enjoy seeing their work. This project was done by Mary, who has read twenty of my books. I think she did a great job.
Many books stay in print for only a year or two. Mine have all lasted much longer than that, and some of them show incredible staying power. Earthquake Terror was published in 1996. The paperback is still in print, and new audio and digital versions are in the works from Audio Go. I am delighted to have these new editions of a favorite novel.