|Brenda and Lucinda in our official Cabin Fever tour shirts.|
Last week I unexpectedly became a roadie for a day during Jeff Kinney's Cabin Fever book launch tour! The Diary of a Wimpy Kid author asked his publisher Amulet/Abrams to send his tour to independent bookstores. My St. Christopher's colleague, Brenda Snead, and I offered to help our friends at bbgb Tales for Kids. We thought we might be handing out hot chocolate or directing traffic. Imagine our surprise when we found ourselves up close and personal on the Jeff Kinney autograph line! From my vantage point of one foot away from Kinney, I had a chance to witness the power of his books.
3000 people attended the Richmond Cabin Fever event! Some of the fans waited two, three, even four hours to meet their hero, but since I was their last stop, I only saw their smiles of anticipation. My favorite was the 9 or 10 year boy who proclaimed, "This is the MOST exciting night of my life!" A woman who attended middle school with Jeff came through, yearbook in hand. The publishers' representatives gleefully took pictures of the middle school-aged Kinney, no doubt to abuse him with later. A teacher brought an entire busload of students and patiently photographed each happy child with Jeff. Parents rushed to shake Jeff's hand. Several thanked him for getting their children interested in reading. Jeff Kinney's brother stopped by. Children brought Kinney stories and drawings. They proudly displayed Wimpy Kid shirts and toys. One girl handed over a slice of cheese in a plastic bag, spreading the dreaded cheese touch! Kinney happily greeted every fan. "Thank you--that means so much to me," he said several times, but I think he truly did appreciate each gesture of devotion. As my own students came through the line, they were surprised to see me so close to the famous visitor. One asked, "Mrs. Whitehurst, why didn't you tell us you knew Jeff Kinney?!"
Surveying all the hoopla, one mother said, "You'd think it was Aerosmith or something!" Her bewildered child gave us a puzzled look (thinking "who's Aerosmith?" I'm sure) but I was on her same wavelength. I may never go on the road with a rock band, but briefly being on tour with Jeff Kinney has to come close!--Lucinda Whitehurst
|One of my students with his sister, me, and Jeff Kinney|