Tuesday, February 10, 2015

50 States Against Bullying: NEW JERSEY

The thirty-ninth stop on the 50 States Against Bullying campaign (after a false start in a state I'll return to soon) brought me to New Jersey. A few years ago, students at a Catholic girls school used Thirteen Reasons Why as a book club pick and during their discussion decided to clean up a vacant classroom and turn it into a safe room that anyone could enter at any time, no questions asked, to just get out of the halls, or decompress, or...whatever they needed. And I've loved hearing about other schools doing this, whether inspired by my book or not.

So it was great to see these stickers on the first classroom door I saw in Seneca High School.

I spoke to the school's entire freshman, plus a few other students from nearby schools.

During the Q&A, someone asked me a writing question that, for the first time, concerned bacon.

While I couldn't get a clear shot, I had to capture the sound and light crew hanging out of a window to get their picture taken.

I'm a sucker for themed library displays. And if it has to do with one of my books, even better!

Seneca High produces a morning show, which teachers can let students watch from any classroom. After my presentation, I was interviewed by this crew, and guess how many questions the interviewer had for me. Guess! Go on, I know you can figure it out!!!

Okay, she asked me thirteen questions. And if you guessed anything else, you really haven't been following my blog for very long.

I spent lunch with so many wonderful students, selected because of how they answered: "Thirteen reasons why Thirteen Reasons Why was meaningful to me..." (Like I said, if you couldn't guess how many questions that interviewer asked, you have not been here for very long.) As is often the case, I only ate half my lunch because the students had so many thoughtful questions, including a fascinating theory concerning Hannah Baker, the barista in Monet's, and piano benches.

After the school visit, I headed to Words Bookstore, where I spoke to more students and adults, including an elderly woman who chose to read her first YA novel, and it was an honor to sign it to her. Another reader, who drove in from New York, finally had her copy of The Future of Us signed by me, it's other author!

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