I am recently back from a quick trip to Tennessee with my BFF and writing partner, Mary Nethery. We spent a wonderful day with the students and staff at Winstead Elementary (thank you, Dawn Wright!) where one of the many highlights was lunch with 6 chatty and confident girls whose parents had bid on the “prize” of having lunch with the authors. After meeting those wonderful young ladies, I feel very confident our future is in good hands.

When our Winstead visit was over, we were carried to the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro (note to non-Tennesseans: it’s pronounced Murphysboro; who knew!). After an amazing dinner at Peter D’s, Mary and I headed back to the hotel to practice our presentations. Here’s the deal: the two of us rarely get the chance to present together. So presentations that look great on paper need tweaking when it’s time to actually go live.

That night, we managed to stay up clear til 8:30 (give us a break; we were on West Coast time!).

I don’t know if we could have asked for a more gracious audience for our first presentation Friday morning. I think “kind” is the perfect synonym for “Tennessee Librarian.” Kind and understanding — when a long line still remained at the end of our signing, those sweet librarians agreed to come back after our second presentation. And they did! In the same order.  Talk about Southern manners.

That night, Mary and I managed to calm our nerves to deliver a joint keynote talk, spelling out the joys and challenges of creating the Volunteer State Award winning book, Nubs. Someday, we should put that whole story in writing. Suffice it to say, we persevered.

Photo credit: Sharon Draper

We love Tennessee!

To my author friends: My dearest wish is that you, too, someday win a Volunteer State award so you can also experience the love and appreciation of the wonderful librarians of TASL. And to the amazing librarians of TASL: thank you, thank you, thank you.

And Nubs says woof, woof.

No Responses to “Tennessee!”

  1. Mona Batchelor

    Kirby! We’re pleased you enjoyed your time in Tennessee. We at TASL feel as if we’ve “done it right” when our organization receives delightful praise from delightful people.

    The VSBA keynote banter between you and Mary was informative, engaging, and heart-warming. I could have listened to you for hours.

    Please get busy crafting another VSBA winner and we’ll save you a place at the table.

    Be well, take good care, and send our love to Nubs.


    Mona Batchelor
    TASL President