You know that saying – you don’t really know what you have until it’s gone? In this case, it’s not really gone – just on hiatus. Hugs. From kids (who are not my own).
The first time it happened at a school visit, I was surprised. I figured after an author does a presentation, there might be some applause, a few kind words. But when children hugged me, it took my breath away. Knowing that a connection had been made in the short span of 45 minutes was validating and truly special. My favorite hug, however, occurred after I read to Kindergarten students in the Rochester City School District in 2016. I finished reading and taking questions and then stood up to begin packing up my things. Suddenly, I was swarmed by arms, smiles, and squeezes. Seriously, I almost fell over, as they rushed me! It was the sweetest thing. Little did I know that 4 years later, in-person readings and presentations would be impossible.
This summer, that began to change, when I had my outdoor book launch party for MILO’S MOONLIGHT MISSION. It was so wonderful to celebrate in person, fist-bumps and all. To connect with readers in this unique way is one of the best parts of my job as a writer. Today, I had the privilege of being the guest reader/author at Mendon Public Library. We gathered at the gazebo to read MILO, in person. What a thrill! After a lovely introduction from Librarian Kelly Paganelli and Rochester Children’s Book Festival Co-Director Barbara Underhill, I began to read a story of my heart. And trucks roared by. No biggie, I just read louder. And louder. The kids and parents were welcoming and engaged. It was wonderful to be back. No hugs, of course, but I know they’ll be back, too. And I will appreciate them all the more.