Greetings from Orlando

I’m wrapping up a week in Orlando, Florida, and never once saw Mickey Mouse. Ah, well. I never went to Disney Land or Disney World as a child, and my sons want nothing to do with the idea (which is ironic, since Disney publishes my books), so I guess a visit will have to wait a little longer!

The picture above is from my hotel, the Gaylord Palms, where the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) is holding their conference. The resort has an enormous covered atrium so large it contains a sailing ship and a castle. I feel like I’m back in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday I did a public evening event for the Winter Park Library. Thanks to everyone who came out. Admission was by lottery, and I got to meet hundreds of kids, teachers and parents. Some of the kids had made their own Percy Jackson T-shirts which were way cooler than mine!

Wednesday morning I visited Evans Elementary in Oviedo. The kids were very enthusiastic and had even done a blog about the Lightning Thief prior to my arrival.

The last two days I attended the FAME conference. I sat in on a panel with five other great authors, chatting about censorship, school author visits, and writing for kids versus writing for adults. Yesterday, I was honored with the Sunshine State Young Readers Award, grades 6-8, for The Lightning Thief. The award was an L-shaped wedge of crystal, and I rushed down to the business office to ship it back home to San Antonio. Later, the committee chair asked me where the award was, because she had the other half. “The other half?” I asked. It turns out the award is a set of bookends, so the two halves will be arriving in Texas in separate boxes. Oops!

It was great meeting so many librarians (er, media specialists) and hearing their stories. One specialist said, “You must get tired of hearing how your books turned a nonreader into a reader.” I said, “Are you kidding? That never gets old!”

Today I’m off to the airport for my trip to the UK. Sunday I’ll be presenting at the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature, followed by a week of visits to schools. The public events are listed on my web calendar.

I’ll try to post again from England. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Rick Riordan