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June 2018

Pace Yourself. That's my new mantra, although I'm not sure this past month was any indication that I've learned the meaning of it just yet.

Early May saw me on a plane to Columbus, Ohio, for a long-planned visit to Olde Orchard Elementary School. I also snuck in a brief surprise visit to Columbus Gifted Academy, a local middle school.

The students in both schools had studied several of my books, and I was more than happy to sign copies. Olde Orchard, though, was hands-down one of the best-prepared schools I've ever visited. Among other things, art and writing projects inspired by my books lined the corridors of the school on every floor, and luminarias bearing student poems decorated tables where teachers hosted both a potluck breakfast and lunch (yum!)

Holly Thompson and Nikki Grimes
Here's one of the middle grade students I surprised with a pop-in visit to Columbus Gifted Academy. So fun!
Gaudalupe Garcia McCall and Nikki Grimes
Student poetry, everywhere! Loved it.
Shoe Magic is celebrated here! Notice how the sneaker has been signed by students! So cool.

Most memorable, though, was a gigantic portrait of me, made up of family photos representing all the students in the school. It was stunning! So glad I got pictures of it.

Holly Thompson and Nikki Grimes
What a stunning portrait! It reminds me of the paintings by artist Chuck Close. The closer you look, the more you see.
Gaudalupe Garcia McCall and Nikki Grimes

At the end of the school day, Channel 10, WNBS, a local station, came out to tape my final presentation. Later I was interviewed myself then listened while three of the students were interviewed as well. The three were quite poised, I must say, considering it was their very first time on television! I was very proud of them and loved what they had to say about the impact of my visit. Aw, shucks!

Holly Thompson and Nikki Grimes

That evening, I enjoyed a lovely dinner with staff and decided to pop in on the middle school classroom of reading teacher, Sam Leopold, husband of Debbie Leopold, who invited me to Olde Orchard Elementary. (Educators run in their family!) My visit was a blast.

Debbie Leopold and Nikki Grimes
After a hard day of work, Debbie Leopold and I enjoy some locally made ice cream! Yum.
Sam Leopold and Nikki Grimes
With reading teacher, Sam Leopold, from Columbus Gifted Academy.

Next, I returned home to study editorial notes for a work-in-progress and to prepare for a writing retreat near Colorado Springs, CO. I've still got tons of work to do on this project, so you won't see it for a while.

Following the retreat, I was off to NYC for Book Expo. One Last Word was an honor winner for the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, and I attended the award luncheon to say a word of thanks. I'm so grateful for the accolades this book has received!

Other May highlights: interviews with 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang, and Newbery Tart Podcast.

Copies of the audio book for Between the Lines arrived. Yay!

Last, but not least, I read and wrote a blurb for A Light So Lovely by Sarah Arthur, a beautifully written manuscript about Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle in Time). Full disclosure, I was also one of the authors interviewed for the book. Score! Keep an eye out for this title in the months ahead.

So, about that pacing thing: I'll slow down in Juneā€”at least, a little, anyway!

All for now—

Until next time,
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Nikki Grimes

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