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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The 10:60 Sign

Since I left Three Oaks 21 days ago, I’ve talked with thousands of kids in a wonderful array of schools.  It’s always intriguing to be a visitor in a school you don’t know, and I look forward to seeing what’s up on the walls and what the kids’ expressions are while they travel through the hallways.  Also, I love going into the school library and soaking up the atmosphere.  Libraries have gotten so exciting since I was a kid – at that time, you had to be quiet every second once you stepped in the door, there weren’t many comfortable places to sit, there was nothing on the walls and librarians did NOT chat with you.  Now school librarians do all kinds of cool and imaginative projects, and kids seem so relaxed with them – the librarian is almost like an extra friend, one who’s always good for encouragement and ideas.

Here I am in a sea of kids, about 550, in a gymnasium in a wonderful Illinois school.  The librarian reminded me of Ms. Hussey, and even though it was super hot in there, the kids were fabulous and filled with terrific questions. 

I did see an amazing danger box last week, in the form of an online ‘museum box’ that kids in another school were using to do projects that grew from my books.  It was incredible -- when you clicked on a section of the box, a cube spun around and showed you all the entries.  I remember a cube with many kinds of chocolate and a history of the Cadbury chocolate company (this coming from The Calder Game), and another with pictures and a history of Johannes Vermeer, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder, Charles Darwin… you could spend ages unpacking and spinning all of the cubes in that box, and it was both magical and inviting.

Here I am standing in front of a mysterious bulletin board inside a school.

Last week I was thrilled to meet the Sign Maker for an unusual sign I photographed in Three Oaks almost two years ago, while doing research for the book. We were both so excited.  Although living elsewhere, this kid has lots of family in the town.  The sign has been traveling with me in my power point presentation -- through schools, national conferences and conventions -- and by now lots of people of all ages from many parts of the U.S. have seen it.  I’ve also posted it on my website (blueballiettbooks.com), which means it will be traveling to other countries.  I think of it as the 10:60 Sign.

I loved meeting the Sign Maker.  We agreed that when the sign was written and stapled to a telephone pole in town, it seemed unlikely that it would appear anyplace else.  You never know where an original piece of thinking may go, once out in the world.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do u think of it as the '10:60' sign?


August 16, 2011 at 3:29 PM  

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