IMG_4444.jpgAdmittedly, today's photo is not very good. I took it at my friend Viva's house yesterday-- I was using her laptop to do a Skype virtual visit with sixth grade students at Elkhorn Ridge Middle School, in Elkhorn, Nebraska. (I didn't realize till I looked at the photo that Viva's computer screen needs a good dusting!)

Anyway, back to the visit, which was short, but lively. The students I met are part of an after-school book club. I teased them and asked whether they were in detention, but they assured me they were genuine book lovers! They were especially interested in my book What World Is Left because they've been studying the Holocaust. Several of them had questions about the book. One student, Caelan, told me he loves fantasy literature. Caelan also told me he often tells stories to his little brother, Trace, who's three. As I told the Elkhorn Ridge students, they're the next generation of writers. Though I didn't take notes on what I said, here's a paraphrase of some advice I gave them: "Get your notebooks -- and take notes about story ideas, interesting people, interesting observations. That's where all writing starts."

Many thanks to Elkhorn Ridge language arts teacher Stacy Oberembt for contacting me and organizing the video-conference. I enjoyed my "visit" to Nebraska, especially since I've never been there before! To learn more about these Skype video-conferences, visit -- and have a great day wherever you are!