Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tour, Week 6 (Punked By A Librarian!)

Over the years, I've visited a lot of incredible schools for "Author Day" but until this week I'd never had a parade.

A parade! With floats and a marching band and kids cheering as we drove down the street.

It felt like the middle school version of Coming Home week on American Idol, and it took place in Oklahoma where Central Middle School (which has hosted me several years in a row), has become a home away from home.

The day didn't start with a parade. It started with strict instructions from the school's librarian to meet her in a church parking lot near the school. (I've learned not to ask too many questions of this librarian. I've learned that she has a vision and you just need to go with it.)

And then the day really started.

We got pulled over by a cop.

At first I thought it was a prank, set up by said librarian. So I hopped out of the car.

"Get back in your vehicle," he barked. And, from his no-BS demeanor and seeing how he was fully decked with bullet-proof vest under his uniform, sun glasses, and a firearm, I got back in the vehicle.

I powered down the window. "Uh, hi?"

"Why are you here?" he asked, scrutinizing the van.

So I explained. About the librarian. And us being authors. And doing a school visit.

"This area is under surveillance," he said. "You need to leave."

Because of his demeanor, I was now totally convinced that we had to get the heck out of the empty church parking lot before we blew his undercover operation. But still. It just came out... "Surveillance?"

He frowned and beamed authority through his sunglasses. "Yes." And then he added, "I can't believe Officer Borsch hasn't told you about this."

"Aghh!' I cried and jumped out of the van and shoved him. "You totally had me!"

He laughed and was clearly pleased, and then the librarian jumped out of his police car in a Sammy Forever shirt and I immediately started crying.

Sammy Forever! Officer Borsch! What an unbelievable prank.

And then we headed for the school, with our lights-flashing police escort, where kids in high-tops and on skateboards greeted us with cheers and signs as we wound our way through nearly 800 kids, teachers, and school staff through the campus.

And then we watched as the parade--complete with marching band, cartwheelers, skateboarders, and shopping cart floats based on our books--went by.

Pictures can't capture this, video can't capture was a wild post-testing day of celebration, and I know that for the rest of my life I'll turn to Mark and say, "They did a parade! I can't believe they did a parade!"

And now, even though they can't capture it, here are a few pictures anyway!
Officer Borsch's henchman!
Converse Day At CMS!

Sammy Keyes Forever!
 And here are a few of the floats, all built up around shopping carts.

A mini-Justice Jack
The Swear to Howdy float
Killer Cruise float
The float representing our crazy tour van!
And Mark got a his own life-sized display, complete with standee and outfitted "Bad Mobile"
An incredible display for ROAD RASH
Mark and the school's Bad Mobile!

Sammiacs ruled the day!

A table display in the library

Caradith Craven, the librarian behind it all.


Mark said...

Don't know what I can add except "what Wendelin just said". Truly a once-in-a-lifetime school visit...WOW!

Sonia Gensler said...

It was great hearing the story from you in person, and now I get to see the photos! HOORAY FOR LIBRARIANS AND YOUNG READERS!

Jackie Henry said...

What a FABULOUS day @ CMS! Not just 1 author but 2! What a FABULOUS Librarian!

Melanie Bailey said...

Caredith always seems to go above and beyond! We love seeing you here at Central. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Looks really fun!

Carol Rose said...

This made me cry!

Kylie said...

This sounds like it was spectacular. I mean wow, just wow.

I would have loved to have been here. The school sounds like a place where everyone is excited about reading which sounds like my kind of place.

I was a bit worried about you getting pulled over. If I was in that situation I would have believed that I was in trouble. But so glad that it all turned out okay.

Reading this post just makes me all the more excited to see you in the fall! I am hoping that when you come up here it is either a weekend, Monday, or Wednesday because I don't get out of class until 4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Oh wait a Friday would also be good.

But in all honesty if I can I will probably just not go to class that day.

Happy Mother's Day Wendelin!


Gabrielle said...

That is totally awesome! I so wish I went to that school! I can't get over how cool that is! And I love the Sammy Keyes shirts! I want one I those!

Have a fantastic week everyone!


Yusa said...

First omg i wish i could put on such a display! And Caradith is a blogette which makes me happier!!!!! I dont know if any other place can top what a show they put on and i cant think of a single thing they left out! I wish i could've seen it all!


Yusa said...

First omg i wish i could put on such a display! And Caradith is a blogette which makes me happier!!!!! I dont know if any other place can top what a show they put on and i cant think of a single thing they left out! I wish i could've seen it all!


Caradith Craven said...

It's been fun reading the responses to Central's day of celebration with Wendelin and Mark. Every school has its unique qualities and strengths. I think our school's focus on fine arts and encouraging students to discover their individual abilities, talents, and creativity beyond state standards is ours! I love bringing books and stories to life through the arts. I had a vision for this day, and everyone came together to make it a reality. I wish all of you blogger Sammiacs could have joined us. I really did think about you as we were putting this together and especially when we pulled off the Officer Borsch prank. The officer who did it was terrific and so were Wendelin's and Mark's reactions! I love your enthusiasm for reading and your devotion to Wendelin and her wonderful stories, especially the Sammy Keyes series.

Shaina said...

YES! This is awesome!

Jessica said...

I forgot to comment the last couple of weeks. Those Elvis Heavenly stairs! Had you ever seen those kinds of stairs before you put them in the book, or did you just imagine them?

Caradith, that is so AMAZING. I love the Officer Borsch prank, and I would have loved to go to your school.

And yes, we all need Sammiac shirts.

Unknown said...

Not to discount the many amazing moments you will remember from this tour, this day sounds like it makes everything worth it. Caradith you are an inspiration!

Caradith Craven said...

Okay. I have six Central Sammiacs shirts left. I have two medium, 3 large, and 1 X-large in adult sizes. They say Central Sammiacs above the picture of Sammy waving goodbye and Sammy Forever below it. You'll have to explain the Central part of it, but if any of you Sammiacs would like one, I will send it to you. I will need an address. Send me your address @ if you are interested in having one. They are free.

Yusa said...

The Central part is obviously explained by the fact that the sammiac fans are centrally connected to one another by our love for sammy and yeah

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Jessica: No, I made the Heavenly stairs up so it was really crazy to find that Elvis had mirrored his stairwell.

Caradith: That is so nice of you!

Blogettes: I met another Sammiac in Albuquerque! I am having the BEST TIME meeting y'all!

We made it to Taos, NM. It's cold here!

Karen said...

Oh, wow! Hats off to Caradith. Again. And Central, again, for making it reality. And that police officer! "I can't believe Officer Borsch hasn't told you about this"! May I hug him? Are you allowed to hug officers in uniform?

Caradith, I love that you thought of the other blogettes while putting it together. I love that your job lets you turn flailing over books into a school-wide art project.

Two outside things possibly of interest to the blogettes:

First, a bit of poem from a book I just got out of the library (Barefoot : Poems for Naked Feet, by Stefi Weisburd).

great lakefront property
a drummer lives downstairs
so be prepared for swacking sounds

It's part of a poem called Vacant Houses, and each verse describes a kind of shoe like it's a house waiting to be bought (Dog-stolen old sneaker / fixer-upper / extensive saliva damage). So of course this one immediately reminded me of Sammy and Mark and Marko and Zach. :-)

And second: Anyone else been watching Amy Purdy's dances on Dancing with the Stars? Amy is the bronze medalist in women's snowboard cross from the 2014 Winter Paralympics. Monday she swapped her usual wood-and-foam feet for a pair of prosthetic running legs like the one Jessica had in The Running Dream to dance a quickstep. It was so cool watching the little video package from rehearsals where she's explaining to her professional dancer partner (and the camera) about the running legs and thinking, Oh yeah, those!

And then she went and danced the best quickstep of the season so far (in my opinion, and there's only one week left), and--! You should go look it up. She's dancing with Derek Hough. (And while you're at it, look up Meryl Davis and Maks’ jive for some Elvis-y goodness.)

Jessica said...

Karen, thanks for sharing the DWtS info -- I just watched it, and it was incredible. I've heard that Jane Richards (the 8-year-old who lost a leg in the Boston marathon bombing) is Irish dancing again, and this video shows how far prosthetics have come to allow athletes to continue their sports. Amy is a great dancer, full of grace and energy.