Marysville, OH is home to (among many other things) a large Honda plant and the only (that I've noticed) Japanese language television station in the midwest making it a small town with an international flavor.
I remember growing up with very little exposure to the outside world, thinking that anything foreign was, well, so FOREIGN. From Yugioh Cards to Dora the Explorer, kids are exposed to so much more, which I can only hope will build more tolerance in the world.
Wednesday I visited East Elementary School in Marysville. It is a small school, located in what might pass as Marysville's inner city. The library is at the hub of the circular layout, with walls open on two hallways, truly forming a heart of the school. The kids and staff were totally engaged in literacy through poetry. One fourth grade class had prepared a group performance of Wham-a-bama-a-one-man-band that really rocked the place. It was a good day, but at 3PM, I finally hit the jetlag wall and retreated to the hotel for an early night. Many thanks to Gail Jenkins for all her hard work.
Thursday I visited Raymond Elementary, a more country school on the outskirts of Marysville. This is an older building that has expanded more than once, the most recent time with a new library. When possible, this is just how I like to meet kids, in smaller spaces where we can really make eye contact with one another. We had a wonderful learning experience because the kids were SO well prepared by their teachers, in addition to coaching by librarian Pam Jones. I really appreciate everyone's time integrating the author visit right in with the classroom goals (as was also the case at East and Mill Valley). Everyone was warm and receptive to the "foreigner" from Cleveland. Thank you!