Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stockton, CA and Free Rice!

I've just returned from a week of school visits in Stockton, CA. I met lots of fun kids, great teachers, cool librarians and a passel of interesting artists and illustrators.

The school district in Stockton decided to bring an author or an illustrator to each one of their elementary schools during the week to foster an interest in reading and books. So Susan Katz, my booking agent and head honcho of a fantastic company called Connecting Authors, brought roughly 25 authors and illustrators to Stockton for the week. Getting a visit from a goofy, whacky author who draws super fast really makes a difference to these kids; I saw firsthand how my visit got the kids fired up about reading, writing, drawing and cooking up stories. Kudos to the Stockton Unified School District for making it happen!

While there, I heard from some of the other authors about a SUPER cool website you simply must visit. It's called and it tests your vocabulary. For every word you test yourself on, the site donates 20 grains of rice through the United Nations World Food Program. It's so fun and easy—and you feel good while doing it! And they even show how many grains of rice you've donated in a rice bowl graphic next to the words. I checked it out on and it's all legit; the advertisers at the bottom of each page end up paying for the rice. (I just donated 880 grains of rice!)

Talk about the power of the Internet! Go there now.

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