Before we began organizing the 50 States Against Bullying campaign, I booked school visits at Fenton High School and Blackhawk Middle School in Bensenville, Illinois. Because I do most of my own booking and am not the most organized person, I forgot to tell my publisher about this visit until they'd booked yesterday's school visit as the Illinois stop. So I got to stay in Illinois an extra day! Which was fine by me because Illinois is my second-home as an author. Outside of my home state of California, this state brings me back more than any other.
The students and faculty of Fenton chose Thirteen Reasons Why as their One Book read for 2014. Thankfully, I didn't have to ask for one of these awesomely designed shirts!
Since I had more time to speak during the assembly at this school, I combined the 50 States presentation with my usual author talk, which went really well and was a lot of fun.
Before speaking at the middle school, which occurred after school hours so community members could attend, I hung out in the Fenton library where classes shuffled in and out for a few hours of Q&A. This gave us a lot of time to really explore the themes in the book and my storytelling decisions. I even got asked a question that stumped me! (But I'm not going to tell you the question, so your're going to have to stump me yourself.)
This school did many art projects around my book. Some students drew self-portraits, which were then hung on a wall so other students could attach positive words via sticky notes. Several 12-sided objects (dodecahedrons!) were individually created, with each panel depicting different elements of the book.
And these triplets created a 3-D model of the city in my book!
I am constantly surprised, overwhelmed, and honored by my readers. Any by the people like Ms. Rodriguez (and the many incredible teachers I met today!) who help organize events like this.
And now, onto Missouri...!