Whew! I just returned from a book tour with Toni Buzzeo and her husband Ken Cyll. Our adventure started on Monday, October 3 when we caught the 7:30 a.m. ferry to Swan’s Island and ended on Thursday, October 6 after visiting students on Islesboro. In between, we had great fun visiting with students on Frenchboro, Vinalhaven and Deer Isle. During our travels Toni met with approximately 265 readers and Island Readers & Writers gave away 220 copies of Toni’s book Lighthouse Christmas –story inspired by the William Wincapaw and the Flying Santa Service – and The Sea Chest.
While visiting Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School we connected via internet conferencing to four more schools – Matinicus, Isle au Haut, Monhegan and Cliff Island. We traveled on state ferries and private boats, ate picnic lunches and scrumptious home cooked meals, made lots of new friends and caught up with old friends as well. Given that Bill Wincapaw began the Flying Santa Service in Penobscot Bay there was much to learn from students about their first-hand experience with the Flying Santa. In preparation for Toni’s visit students participated in various book-related activities – painting a mural of a lighthouse, conducting research on lighthouses in Penobscot Bay, writing poems about mariners and lighthouses, reading the book in advance and developing thoughtful questions about writing. We loved seeing and hearing about all the student projects. It was a grand time indeed.
My thanks to Toni for her excellent presentation on the writing of Lighthouse Christmas. Her slide show was informative, singing superb, versatility in responding to varied audiences amazing, and her joy in sharing her book with readers evident. Oh, did I mention her positive attitude, sense of humor and endless energy?
Our visit was early in the school year and in some cases a break between testing sessions. Thank you to all the schools for hosting us and for doing such a wonderful job in preparing for our visit. It is my hope that all will long enjoy the story Lighthouse Christmas and continue to research and explore the history of lighthouses and the families that operated them in Penobscot Bay.
Watch a clip of Toni Buzzeo’s Lighthouse Christmas Tour.