One of the really fun, non-homebody, parts of my job is visiting schools. This past week I embarked on a mini-tour of sorts, visiting 5 different elementary schools in three different towns -- and a public library for good measure -- in four days. All totalled, I spoke with nearly 1500 kids, shared some "festival" time with fellow author Peggy King Anderson, AND I met the newly christened National Teacher of the Year, Andrea Peterson. Kids and teachers alike were very welcoming. I've done numerous visits in the past, but this was one of the first times that schedules aligned in such a way to make such a concentrated effort a possibility. This is also the first time that I have ever remembered to bring a camera! Darrington, Enumclaw and Granite Falls all have their scenic allure - as each is tucked away near the western Cascades - but Darrington Elementary, with its jagged snow-capped peaks takes the cake. Enumclaw's Sunrise Elementary wins praise for the most creative (and flattering) "welcome author" decor, and Granite Falls was abuzz with some seriously enthususiastic readers, writers, AND illustrators!