*Years ago I read the novel Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin and was blown away. I think I read it in one sitting and when I was done, I told EVERYONE at school about it.
*Fast forward many years, and I'm sitting in my classroom on Thursday, March 23rd. My students are in a circle of chairs with their author questions on their iPads. Sitting next to me is Nora Raleigh Baskin. It is certainly a full-circle and a pinch me is this happening moment.
*I first met Nora in person at #NerdCampMI 2016. It was a highlight camp "moment" because I had read all her books, featured her on both my blog and The Nerdy Book Club blog. Since then we have continued to follow each other on social media. My fourth grade readers Skyped with her last fall after we finish Nine, Ten, A September 11 Story.
*At the beginning of last week, a few Twin Cities teachers, and fellow NERDS, got a message from Nora herself that she was going to be visiting MN for a couple of speaking engagements. She had some time on Thursday morning and was hoping to visit a classroom. I jumped at the chance. We hit a bump in the road when we realized Nora didn't have a way to get from her hotel to my school and back again. This was an "Author Emergency" that Sandy Otto came to the rescue and became her chauffeur for the day.
*I teased my class about a surprise author visit and we created questions that any author could answer. The night before the visit, I shared with my readers who would be joining us on Thursday morning.
*Nora spent about an hour with us and it was a truly meaningful experience for both myself and my students. She opened the hour with how she became a writer and her story blew me away. I had to work quite hard not to cry in front of the entire group. If you haven't heard her share this story, be sure to ask her the next time you see her.
*After the "opening", my students had the chance to ask some questions and hear how Nora responded to them. She was thoughtful, mindful, and so open with them. I could tell they were "hearing" what she had to say.
*I thought I would share some images from that visit. This experience was definitely a highlight not only for myself, but also my twenty-seven fourth grade readers.
*Thank you so much to Nora for giving us her time, her words, and above all her warmth. She is truly one of a kind human being. I'll take a full-circle moment like this anyday...