I needed to get a little space between me and this event before I could talk about it–my author visit to Sandy Hook in Newtown Connecticut, this past February 12th.
At the last minute I was asked by author Marc Tyler Nobleman to join this group for an “author variety show”, the first all-school event since the tragedy that took place last December. Immediately I said yes, I would drive up to Connecticut for the event; and I admit that though I was excited at the opportunity to do what I could to help, I was a little nervous about it. How would the kids be holding up? How would the teachers and administrators handle having a bunch of strangers in their school? What would security be like?
As it turned out, I did not need to worry. The security guys were friendly and helpful, the administrators were enthusiastic and positive, and most importantly, the kids…they were just kids! Despite what had happened in their old school, the friends they lost, the media storm that had surrounded them for months, the kids were happy to hear some stories and songs, to sing along, clap their hands, and watch a bunch of grown-up authors being silly. We took turns playing piano and guitar, put on a puppet show, drew pictures as fast as our hands could draw, and generally had a great time in the little auditorium and in the classrooms where we shared our work. I know a lot of people made donations of many kinds in the aftermath of what happened in Newtown, but I was very grateful for the chance to do my small part in bringing a little light to a cold, winters day in Connecticut.
The authors and illustrators in the back row are Alan Katz, Bruce Degan, Tad Hills, Katie Davis, Vincent X. Kirsch, Bob Shea and Meghan McCarthy. In the front row are Susan Hood, Mike Rex, Tracy Dockray, Marc Tyler Nobleman, and me, Daniel Kirk.