WHOA, what a week!

Well, it’s official! “Lily: A True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado” has been released!

And what a week it has been for the kickoff!

I spent all day last Tuesday at Pheasant Point Elementary School in O'Fallon, reading the story to students. Wednesday I drove to Hallsville, Missouri to spend the afternoon at the elementary school there. Thursday night brought me to Pheasant Point’s Scholastic Book Fair.

That brings us to Friday…

The Washington, Missouri Family Reading Night!

This was an amazing event, with so many people chipping in to make it a very special night. The details that the students of Washington went to to prepare were unbelievable.

They had weather themed decorations with suns and clouds hanging from the ceiling. They drew posters of illustrations from the “Lily” book. There was a dog themed art contest, resulting in many lovely dog portraits lining the hallways, and a real doghouse for kids to play in. And, of course, my personal favorites, several lovely life size cut outs of Lily, gracing the main stage.

I had the honor of speaking to the crowd of 700 and then introducing Tara, who shared Lily’s story with the audience. Kids were delighted to get to pet Lily, the star herself, as they got their books signed.

All in all it was an incredible night, one that I will always remember and a great way to kick off the new book.

I want to thank Dawn Kitchell and Chris Stuckenschneider for hosting me at this event. It was truly a wonderful time.

Check out a few snapshots from the evening below!