day one in san francisco

I'm in Wisconsin. And I am blown over by my welcome here, and by this retreat center, by the nuns who run the place, and by these fabulous Wisconsin SCBWI writers who are gathered here this weekend.  I neeeed to take photos and share this place with you.

But not before I share last week (was it just last week?) in San Francisco, with my Scholastic Book Fairs friends -- I was equally blown over by the hospitality at the schools we visited, and by the grace and good humor of my Fairs buddies... I'm spending a fall being blown over, basically... let me show you San Francisco.

St. Isadore's in Danville. A sea of fourth through eighth graders -- hard to sit on a gym floor for 45 minutes, but they did, and we had fun, and signed some books, and got to visit a book fair in the making (do you see John Glenn in the photo below? I was in love with him. He is Drew's hero in Countdown):

Librarians Lee Lewis (left) and Kathy Dal Porto (right) flank Deborah Roberts Kaiser, Scholastic Book Fairs' Author Promotions and Conventions Specialist, who squired me all over the Bay Area for two days -- and I mean all over.
This is an amazing book fair, y'all... when Deborah and I walked into the library, it was full of parents who were making Kathy's creative thinking come true for their kids -- a circus themed book fair. They were one week away from Fair Day, and the room was full of activity.
Each of these clowns has a BOOK FAIR! sign at his feet with pointing arrows.
Thank you so much, Lee Lewis, for making this morning at St. Isadore's possible. I loved meeting you and your teachers and students.

When we left Danville, we had a few hours to kill before a teacher appreciation event that evening. I mentioned to Deborah that I was thinking of setting book three of the Sixties Trilogy in Berkeley in 1968. "Do you want to go to Berkeley now?" Deborah asked. And we did.

We ended up driving the entire circumference of the Bay Area before we were done -- it was awesome, crossing bridge after bridge, and in Berkeley, driving around the campus, seeing Telegraph Hill and People's Park... and I didn't take a single photograph. I just soaked up the atmosphere and decided then and there that a short-term rental in Berkeley next summer is where it's at. Let's see what happens.
That evening we held a teacher appreciation event for Bay Area teachers at the brand-new San Mateo Public Library -- what a beautiful building! And, once again, I got to meet new friends, and see how a Scholastic Book Fairs event works. Here, Countdown is showcased, of course...
Whoever's idea this was, below: bless you. :>

What the cases look like opened and ready for business:

And what they look like when they're closed and ready to go back on the truck. Some of y'all will remember this post of my visit to the Scholastic Book Fair warehouse in the Chicago area two years ago... it was an amazing experience, to watch these cases being packed. I'll bet some of those same folks packed the cases below.
And here we are, the hard working Bay Area Fairs team, after a long day, ready to pack up and go home. I asked for this photo, to show what it takes to make a book fair work. From left to right: a parent, a teacher librarian, two Fairs folks, one writer, and two more Fairs people. They all combine in various shapes and designs to bring books to young readers.

Next, day two in San Franciso, featuring a school, a bookstore, three girlfriends, and one giant.

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