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Friday, June 29, 2007

Trip to Washington D.C.

My fifteen year old daughter, Sarah, and I spent the last few days in Washington D.C. The first day I signed copies of Adventures of the Treasure Fleet and Gecko's Complaint at the ALA (American Library Association) Conference. It was great to be with more than 15,000 book-loving school librarians, some of which had traveled from as far away as Puerto Rico and Guam to attend. It was gratifying to talk with many librarians who were fascinated by the story behind my new book, Adventures of the Treasure Fleet. One of the highlights of the day was learning that Adventures of the Treasure Fleet will now be sold in two fine catalogues: China Sprout(www.chinasprout.com) and Asia for Kids (www.asiaforkids.com).

Our next few days, spent touring D.C., were simply awesome! With Sarah taking U.S. History next fall at Del Oro High School, this trip was particularly apt. Our best day was spent biking the city, which we agreed was the best way to view our nation's large mall and it's many memorials, each with an incredibly moving history lesson to share. During our bike tour we read President Jefferson's thoughts, now etched in stone yet forward-thinking to this day. We considered brave and consistent President Lincoln and his eloquent Gettysburg address spoken to a battle-weary nation. We biked into Maryland and visited Arlington National Cemetery with its over 290,000 graves, most lives lost in our nation's many battles. We watched in silent awe as the guard solemnly changed at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. We visited the graves of Kennedy family members who have given so much to our nation. Returning to D.C. proper, we studied the White House along with hundreds of other curious tourists. The group included hundreds of young scholars dressed to the nines, ready to meet the president, and an old woman who has held a Peace Vigil on the White House steps since 1988.

One of the highlights of our visit was a tour of the capitol building itself. We were amazed by the splendor of the artwork that filled this magnificent building. We were impressed but also humored by the maze of underground tunnels that link the capitol to many nearby office buildings. The tunnels made me feel a bit like a rat in a maze.

While visiting the capitol buildings, I was delighted to see many librarians paying a visit to their local representatives, asking for support of a bill to increase library funding. We came across a peaceful demonstration of ACLU, with people coming to D.C. from every state in our union. We spoke with a family who had lost a son to cancer who were lobbying for funding for childhood cancer research. We heard the House of Representative debate a bill to increase the amount of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Our government, our populace, were clearly in action on Capitol Hill!

Sarah loved D.C. She loved its diversity, its beautiful buildings and its gigantic trees. She didn't enjoy the humidity but most certainly, she grew in her understanding and appreciation of our nation's wealth and its history. She's ready to take on U.S. History at D.O.!

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