Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Children's Book Day Surprise

Sunnyside (Tarrytown, New York)Image via Wikipedia
It was a wonderful day for a book event at Washington Irving's Sunnyside. The weather channel had threatened rain all weekend, but it turned out to be a beautiful Indian Summer day with plentiful sunshine gracing the rolling hills overlooking the Hudson River.

Sunnyside, the mansion where Washington Irving lived, is in Irvington (surprise!) next to Tarrytown. My family and I arrived early, and I was whisked off to see where I would be sitting - alongside Judy Blundell (who recommended me for this event) and Peter Lerangis of 39 Clue fame. That's right - Edges was in fantastic company, as Judy also writes under the name Jude Watson (Watson being her married name) with Judy's lexicon of work and all of the 39 Clues books.

I had a few minutes, so I walked around, saw other wonderful authors talking to young readers and their parents. (This event was mostly for a younger audience: I think that Judy and I were the only ones representing the YA scene!)

Imagine my surprise when a man genially walks up to me and asks if I am Léna Roy. Why yes, yes I am. (There was a HUGE picture of me that went along with the cover article of the Westchester Journal Weekender.)

"Did you go to Kent boarding School?"

My eyes popped. "Yes!"

"I'm Chris Dee, I'm married to Barbara Dee, and I was your 9th grade English teacher."

Holy cow! I'm getting goosebumps just writing this. What a small world! Barbara Dee and I had only recently become Facebook and Twitter friends and have been trying to set up a coffee date. It turns out that Barbara also taught at Kent when I was there - but was never my teacher.

Kent boarding school. The WRONG place for me. It was a disaster. I was incredibly miserable and can't believe that I lasted even two years there. But that's another story.

Mr. Dee though, was a pretty cool teacher. In fact, the only cool teacher.

Barbara and I gave each other a big hug, promising a long coffee date in the next week or two, and then it was time to sit at my table from 2PM - 4:30PM. Some of my Writopia students came, and it was lovely talking with people about books and the process of writing, and how important building community is.

This was such a wonderful event, supporting Westchester authors and the people who love them. I did not however, get to talk to everybody I wanted to, but it was tough to be pro-active when there were just so many people I wanted to meet. And yes, I was  too chicken to approach Gail Carson-Levine. Next time, I promise!
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  1. Would have loved to be there--and made you introduce yourself to G.C.L. I'm convinced she's fabulously nice because I haven't been wrong in my author choices yet! ;)

  2. Maybe I'll need to have you with me next time! ;-)

  3. Lena, so great to finally meet in person! And how tiny the world is, huh? (Although we had the same reaction to that school...)
    By the way, this was the second time in three Sunnysides that I was lucky enough to share a table with GCL, and I can tell you she is as nice as she is talented--VERY.

  4. You know Barbara, I never realized that your last name was Dee. I thought of you like Cher or Madonna, and that you just go by your first name. (I'm whack-a-doodle like that.)

    Can't wait to hang out!

  5. Haha! Yeah, Madonna, Cher, and Barbara Dee. (At Kent they called me Ms. Cohen.)

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