Archive for the ‘My Life’ Category

ANCA World Autism Festival 2017: My Experience

Friday, October 20th, 2017
Receiving my INAP Award for Literary Arts, representing the United States of America at the ANCA World Autism Festival 2017, October 1, 2017

Receiving my INAP Award for Literary Arts, representing the United States of America at the ANCA World Autism Festival 2017, October 1, 2017

My Award

My Award

My Award

My Award

As I write this, it has been a little over two weeks since I returned from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and from participating in the 2017 edition of the ANCA World Autism Festival.  Participants from thirty-two countries gathered for the International Naturally Autistic People Awards and convention where we all learned more about the global autism community and the amazing things everyone was doing.  I was only able to stay for four days, but it was an eye-opening, hectic, surprising, inspiring, and overall positive weekend of interesting events, new friends, and many opportunities for personal growth.  It was one of the most optimistic times I have ever experienced.

Granted, I did not know any of this at the start, certainly not when I was first flying out of Syracuse, NY, with my former one-on-one teaching assistant and very good friend, Raylene Spriggs.  This was my first time ever on a plane, so I was a little nervous going through all the security and boarding the plane, but once our first hour-long “puddle-jumping” flight to Toronto was underway, I relaxed considerably.  The next four-hour leg to Vancouver was even better; when I learned we were able to watch in-flight movies, TV shows, and other entertainment options from screens built into the seats, I hardly even noticed time passing by!  I felt comfortable the whole way, and the return journey was just as pleasant (with the movie “Sing” and a few episodes of a long-running Canadian TV staple, the hidden camera prank show “Just for Laughs Gags.” It was supremely hilarious!).

I only have one slight regret from my time in Vancouver: we didn’t really have opportunities for sightseeing.  My schedule was packed with festival events right from the moment we got to the hotel.  Raylene and I quickly changed into somewhat formal attire in our hotel room, then headed down to participate in the ANCA Festival’s opening ceremonies.  The theme of this year’s show, and the Festival as a whole, was “Cultural Convergence.”  Representatives from each country demonstrated their talents, including many of the award nominees.  In keeping with the theme, several acts performed together.  For instance, I read one of my poems with musical accompaniment from the Indonesian blues band, “The Chord,” who performed “Indonesian Blues” (they, sadly, could not make the physical trip to Canada, but they did provide a video of themselves playing their original composition; I think it is a lovely piece).  I was, in turn, deeply moved by all of the other performances, especially some incredible piano players and delightful dancers.  I felt it was a great start to the weekend and an early indication of how amazing the rest of the Festival would be.

After breakfast the next day in the hotel’s restaurant area (Rice Krispies, a buttery crossiant, and a cinnamon roll), it was time for the trade show.  On the convention floor, each country’s contingent had a table space to showcase the products of their work/talent to everyone.  Some had art to display for the event, while others shared information on autism benefit programs, therapies, and efforts toward autism awareness in their home countries.  I shared my “Noah and Logan Children’s Book Series” stories, which seemed to please all who saw them.  In addition, some representatives had an opportunity to speak with the assemblage and further share their skills on “open mike,” which I happily joined in with, reading two of my poems.

Later in the day, Raylene and I were interviewed by Mr. Paul-Constantin Cojocaru, a therapist from Romania.  He told us there are few services for people with autism in Romania, so he was interviewing many of the Festival participants for a later broadcast on his country’s television in order to show that people with autism are capable of doing anything they set their minds to.  I enjoyed speaking with Paul as I described my children’s books and why I have written them.

This day moved surprisingly fast, capped off with an evening of spectacular musical performances from Indonesia (a native plate dance and a fun cover of the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna”), Slovenia (a succession of instrumental versions of “Phantom of the Opera” songs on piano, which I was surprised to learn they have been performing for over eleven years and counting; no wonder they sounded like virtuosos!), and Japan (far too many highlights to mention, but the wonderful piano rendition of “Sukiyaki” was a delight to me; I’m a big fan of Kyu Sakamoto’s version from 1961).  It was a great end to a very good day.

My final full day at the Festival played host to the 2017 International Naturally Autistic People’s Awards, in which  individuals and groups were recognized for their talent or dedication to helping the autism community.  In between each category, there were more cultural performances, as well as live rock-and-roll tunes from legendary blues artist Jimmy D. Lane and his band.  I was nominated in the Literary Arts category, representing the United States of America, for three of my poems concerning my life with autism.  I was greatly honored to have been even considered in the first place.  I was even more astonished to learn that I had actually won second place in my category!  I stepped up to the podium and accepted my INAP Award from Leonora Gregory-Collura, the Festival’s founder, principal organizer, and general guiding light.  I gave a short speech then shared with the audience two of my poems; I noticed during my second poem reading (and according to my mom it was even more evident from the event’s Internet video stream) that Jimmy was playing some improvised guitar licks in between each line of my poem, a very fun surprise!

On the award itself is a glass replica of a traditional Inuit inukchuk, meaning “in the image of man.”  They are traditionally made out of rocks and resemble human figures, and are placed in long lines along the shoreline to help Inuit hunters find their way back home to their village.  I think my tiny inukchuk looks very strong and sturdy…and cute!

Raylene and I left the Festival, the hotel, and Vancouver the next morning.  Ten hours later, we were back in Syracuse, eating a quick dinner at Wendy’s with my parents.  Then it was back home, where I soon settled down for the night (and yes, jet lag hit me hard).  After four days of constant travel and activity, the sight of a new live episode of “WWE Raw” on television was a welcome respite.

The 2017 ANCA World Autism Festival is a whirlwind of memories in my mind.  I made some new friends, learned a lot about the global autism community, travel, and myself, and was amazed by just about everything that happened.

I am happy to be able to share this experience with everyone who participated in the Festival, those who watched the various Internet video streams for different events from that weekend, everyone who has supported me, and everyone who worked to make the Festival the great success I feel it was.  I would like to especially thank Leonora Gregory-Collura and her husband Charlie for making this entire Festival possible and for being such warm, inviting, and incredibly kind hosts; both of you are simply too wonderful for words.  Thank you for this fantastic experience!

If you visit my website, www.benjaminkmkellogg.com, you can find videos of my acceptance speech for my INAP Award and poem readings along with my interview with Mr. Paul-Constantin Cojocaru during my time at the Festival.  I hope you enjoy them all.

Special Olympics “Cops on Top” Donation Drive 2017

Friday, August 4th, 2017
My Special Olympics Coach, Peggy Pelc and me!

My Special Olympics Coach, Peggy Pelc and me!

Officer Dumas, our "Cop on Top!"

Officer Dumas, our “Cop on Top!”

My friends Dan and Teresa with Officers Chernesky and LeVea with me!

My friends Dan and Teresa with Officers Chernesky and LeVea with me!

Fulton Police Officer, Brian Dumas and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Brian Dumas and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Jacob Chernesky and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Jacob Chernesky and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Josh LeVea and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Josh LeVea and me!

I love being part of Special Olympics.  This organization gives me the opportunity to participate in sports activities throughout the year that are fun, help keep me in shape, and let me spend some time with good friends.  That is why I love helping this organization continue to ensure that everyone in my local area has an opportunity to participate in sports/athletic activities the way I do.  I was happy to give them my support once again in an annual tradition: the “Cops on Top” donation drive, held at several area Dunkin Donuts Restaurants one day each year.  The particular portion of the drive with which I was involved today, August 4, 2017, based its operations at the Dunkin Donuts in Fulton, NY.

A few friends from Special Olympics and I were joined in our fundraising efforts by our coach, Coach Peggy Pelc, and three members of the Fulton Police Department, Officers Josh LeVea, Brian Dumas, and Jacob Chernesky.  Officer Dumas stood on the roof of the restaurant, attracting traffic to those of us positioned by the restaurant’s drive-thru.  Thus, fulfilling the “Cops on Top” theme!

For every driver who donated to Special Olympics, they received a coupon for a free doughnut with a beverage purchase. If a donation of $20.00 or more was given, they received a “Cops on Top/Special Olympics” tee shirt!  I think the tee shirt looks great, and I will definitely wear it proudly for the next days and months, just like the other shirts I have from previous “Cops on Top” events.

I would like to sincerely thank all the people who donated whatever they could (even their loose change), my Special Olympics coach, Coach Peggy, Officers LeVea, Dumas, and Chernesky, the staff of the Fulton Dunkin Donuts, and my Special Olympics friends for helping to make this year’s “Cops on Top” drive a delightful time.  I can’t wait until we do it again next year!

ARISE Annual Golf Clinic at Evergreen Hills Golf Course

Monday, September 26th, 2016
Driving.

Driving.

Chipping.

Chipping.

Putting.

Putting.

One of my favorite times of the year is the ARISE Annual Golf Clinic.  For two fun-filled days September 7 and 8, some good friends and I got to enjoy the great outdoors, practice the fundamentals of the relaxing sport of golf, and then take our skills onto an actual course.  I’ve had tremendous fun at this event for many years, and the 2016 clinic at Evergreen Hills Golf Course in Oswego, NY, was as spectacular as ever.

On the first day of the clinic, we went over the rules and basic techniques of golf with a golf pro.  There was quite a bit to cover, but our pro stressed three key points to remember about golf.  1. Have fun.  After all, who wants to play a sport but not have a good time?  2. Be safe.  I can personally vouch for this one: in the past, I have accidentally hit someone in the head with a golf ball.  The “victim” survived and we were still friends afterward, thank goodness, but I definitely keep this incident in mind every time I hit the links.  3. Be nice.  In my mind, this is an extension of point 2, as in most cases, courteous players are also ensuring safety for themselves and their fellow players.

After going over the rules, we went outside to practice chipping, putting, and driving on the driving range, aided by our pro and local volunteer golfers.  In my view, all three of these essential skills are fun in their own way.  Using a driver to blast the ball from the starting tee to the far part of the fairway is, to me, one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world.  Chipping the ball onto the green feels almost the same to me as driving, just on a smaller scale.  Putting provides me with the most control and finesse over the ball, and maneuvering it into the hole with a few well-placed putts, especially if it results in a birdie or par, is very satisfying.  I can hit the ball fairly well when driving and onto the green with chipping.  But, I think I prefer putting the best; I feel like I have better command over the ball when I’m putting, and moving the ball around the green with a putter requires a lot less overall physical effort on my part than the other two skills entail.  It’s these strokes, easy on my body yet still challenging, that is one of my favorite parts of playing the sport of golf.

Day two was tournament day.  Teams were assembled in the “captain and crew” format with the local volunteer golfers as captains and we played a few holes on the Evergreen Hills course.  This means that the pro, the captain of our team, hit first at each hole, then we hit our balls from where the pro’s shot had landed, then we played off whichever of our shots went the farthest, and so on until we had all completed the hole.  This is my favorite part of the clinic each year, as we get to practice what we’ve learned on some actual holes and we usually pull off some amazing shots.  I heard one player on another team scored a hole-in-one, a very impressive accomplishment indeed!  By comparison, my personal best performance of the day was completing a hole in three strokes, the first being a drive, then I chipped my ball right onto the green, and then made an unbelievable curving putt into the hole.  (I only say “unbelievable” because I almost always miss putts like that, so landing one felt pretty good!)

Following the tournament, we had a “longest drive” competition to see who could hit the ball the farthest, a straight shot down a fairway with no obstructions blocking the path of the balls.  My shot went fairly far, but the winner hit his golf ball a much greater distance than mine.  That drew a big round of applause from the rest of us!

The ARISE and Golf Annual Clinic at Evergreen Hills was another fantastic two days of fun and frolic for all of us.  Participating in the clinic is a real blessing to me because I learn more and more about golf every year I attend, and I want to thank everyone who came out to help us at this year’s event.  I would also like to extend an extra special thanks to ARISE, Inc. and the Evergreen Hills Golf Course for being such great hosts.  It was a blast!

The Noah and Logan Tour, Part 8: Phoenix Public Library and Pulaski Public Library

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
From my evening at the Fulton Public Library!

From my evening at the Phoenix Public Library!

 

Here I am at the Pulaski Public Library!

Here I am at the Pulaski Public Library!

Hello everyone!  The following blog was originally written at the beginning of September.  I’ve been a bit busy and am just now getting around to sharing this with you all.  I hope you enjoy my blog!

You may notice a small difference in the title of this post compared to previous ones covering the promotional tour for my Noah and Logan series.  Even though summer is over, I still have a few events lined up on my calendar in conjunction with the fall season.  I fulfilled two of these recently.  The first was an evening appearance before an adult audience at the Phoenix Public Library in Phoenix, NY, and the second was an early morning presentation at the Pulaski Public Library in Pulaski, NY.

I was not sure what kind of audience I might have at the Phoenix Public Library because the event was held at a much later time during the day than my other events.  However, in short order, a group of interested adults assembled in the library’s large conference room.  I presented both of my Noah and Logan books as well as my two poems that have been published in the UNIQUE magazine.  Then I took questions from the audience and, with some help from my mother, I discussed at length my life with autism.  Needless to say, the conversation took some surprising turns.  It was a very lively and interesting event that I had a lot of fun doing!

A few days after Phoenix, I made my way to the Pulaski Public Library early in the morning to share my stories with a group of preschoolers and some of their parents.  The kids loved the stories, but it seemed to me that this group especially enjoyed the dinosaurs in  Noah and Logan Learn to Share!  Who knows, there may be ways to incorporate other dinosaurs in future Noah and Logan books!  

I want to give special thanks to the librarians, parents, and other people who organized these events and the audiences for making them extra memorable.  I’ll keep you posted here and on my website and Facebook pages about upcoming events.  See you soon!

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour, Part 7: Mexico Public Library and Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Giving my presentation at the Mexico Public Library.

Giving my presentation at the Mexico Public Library.

The Ainsworth Library displayed my name on their sign!

The Ainsworth Library displayed my name on their sign!

Sharing "Noah and Logan Learn to Share" at the Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library.

Sharing “Noah and Logan Learn to Share” at the Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library.

It is almost back-to-school time, and the Noah and Logan tour continues to draw interest.  I am working on the third book with my mother, once again, in charge of the illustrations, and we both continue to promote the series.  We added two more libraries to our ever-growing itinerary recently.  The first was the Mexico Public Library in my hometown of Mexico, NY, and the second was the Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library in Sandy Creek, NY.

The Mexico Public Library, located on Main Street in the heart of my hometown of Mexico, NY, was one of my favorite places to visit when I was younger, and I still love to stop in from time to time.  I had been looking forward to reading my Noah and Logan stories in the library that I grew up with, and now I was able to do so as part of the Library’s story hour.   As I read my stories to the kids,  I could tell from their smiles that they liked Noah and Logan’s antics.

The Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library, proudly serving the people of Sandy Creek, NY, was my next port of call.  I was in this area earlier this summer for the Oswego County Fair and the library’s book sale, so I was delighted to return.  I was surprised to learn how large the Ainsworth Library is: many additional sections have been built onto it over the years, making it seem to me like a labyrinth.  Luckily, it was not too difficult to find the children’s reading room.  I read both of my Noah and Logan stories to the kids as well as the two poems I had published in UNIQUE, a yearly magazine published by ARISE.  It was a very fun event for all!

The children at both events were wonderful audiences, and both libraries’ staffs were great hosts.

I have more places to visit on the tour and more people to share the Noah and Logan series with.  My next stops include the Phoenix Public Library on September 14th at 7 p.m., the Pulaski Public Library on September 18th at 10 a.m., and the Fulton Public Library on October 27th at 10 a.m.  I would love to see you at any of these events.  Thank you for all your support!

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour Part 6: Oswego City Public Library and Central Square Library

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
My "Thank You" card from the children at the Oswego City Public Library!

My “Thank You” card from the children at the Oswego City Public Library!

Signing the children's autograph books at the Oswego City Public Library.

Signing the children’s autograph books at the Oswego City Public Library.

 

Having a great time at the Central Square Library!

Having a great time at the Central Square Library!

 

Sharing "Noah and Logan Learn to Clean" at the Central Square Library!

Sharing “Noah and Logan Learn to Clean” at the Central Square Library!

I just recently completed two more fantastic stops on the summer promotional tour for my Noah and Logan children’s series of e-books.  I read my stories to sizable groups of children at the Oswego City Public Library in Oswego, NY, and at the Central Square Library in Central Square, NY.  I have visited both of these libraries before, and I took great pleasure in reading to the kids at both locations.

I came to know the Oswego City Public Library very well during my college days; I used its many resources for numerous college assignments.  Some of my research excursions took me to the library’s children’s section, containing a healthy combination of all-time classics and modern selections.  I am happy to report this was still the case when I returned to share the Noah and Logan series with a group 0f excited children.  There was a bit of chatter among the children before I started reading, particularly about dinosaurs.  In one of my stories, Noah and Logan share toy dinosaurs with each other; I was glad to see that this detail made a connection to a subject the kids were enthusiastic about.  Afterward, I signed autograph books the children had been given as part of the library’s summer reading program.  It was a rare treat and great fun for me to sign their books.  The children also gave to me a “Thank You” card for giving my presentation.  A very thoughtful gesture!

The Central Square Library has a wonderful children’s section as well.  The children who came to the library’s story hour were practically beaming as they colored for a few moments and then settled down for my stories.  I could tell they liked having such creative stimulation, which put them in a good mood for my Noah and Logan tales.  They were very attentive, and I think we all enjoyed story time at the library!  I was also pleased that my aunt and uncle stopped by to hear my presentation along with Ms. Vicki Affinati from ARISE.  It was very nice of them to come and stand by me!

I felt that both of these events were tremendously successful.  I had such a great time with the kids at the libraries; they have lively imaginations and made for wonderful audiences.  I thank them as well as the librarians who allowed me to share a little about myself and my work.

I cannot wait to see what the other events on this summer tour will be like.  I have two big stops coming up. First, on August 14 at 11:00 a.m., I will be sharing my Noah and Logan stories for “Story Time” at the Mexico Public Library at 3269 Main St., Mexico, NY.  Then, I will be participating in “Story Time” at the Annie Porter Ainsworth Memorial Library at 6064 South Main Street, Sandy Creek, NY, on August 18 at 4:30 p.m.

See you soon!

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour, Part 5: Williamstown Library and Salmon Run Mall

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Showing "Noah and Logan Learn to Clean" to the children at the Williamstown Library!

Showing “Noah and Logan Learn to Clean” to the children at the Williamstown Library!

Williamstown and Watertown 007

The Noah and Logan summer tour has truly been an exciting time for me.  The events I am attending are now occurring more and more frequently, making for quite a few busy days!  I appeared at two more events recently, both within days of each other.  The first was for story hour at the Williamstown Library in Williamstown, NY, and two days later, I participated alongside other authors at a local author event at the Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, NY.

The Williamstown Library story hour was held in a very nice reading room where the kids and I had plenty of space to find a good seat and enjoy the Noah and Logan stories together.  I especially enjoyed the play carpet on the floor with Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar on it.  It reminded me of how much I loved Eric Carle’s books when I was younger.  It was a very cozy room, one I would have likely stayed in to read for hours if I had the chance.  What a fun place to explore a good book in!  I would like to thank the Library’s director, Beverly W. Ripka, for providing the opportunity to visit and read my stories at their library.  It was a great morning, and I would love to share more of my stories at the Williamstown Library in the future.

Two days later, I traveled to the Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, NY, for a local author event being put on by The Reading Room, a book store located at the mall.  I was part of a group of about twenty local authors, with each of us showing our books.  The event was set up with tables in front of the bookstore; it was also close to the mall’s entrance, so the tables full of books greeted each mall visitor.  When I first entered the mall, this was the first sight I saw as well, and it made me excited to see two of my favorite things in life in great abundance: books and other authors!  I really had fun conversing with both the other authors and the mall shoppers about my stories.  They liked my mother’s illustrations very much; knowing how hard she worked on those, I am glad they continue to delight everyone who sees them.

Both of these events were very enjoyable to me.  In addition, I received some leads for other events and opportunities from my interactions with other authors and readers at these appearances, so my schedule is becoming even more full!  For instance, this coming Friday, July 31st at 10:30 A.M., I will present my Noah and Logan stories at the Oswego City Library at 140 E. Second St., Oswego, NY, for their children’s hour.  I’ll let you know what else is coming up on my website, www.benjaminkmkellogg.com, as well as my Facebook pages, then give you my thoughts on my appearances here.  Stay tuned, and keep reading!

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour, Part 4: Camden Public Library

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
Reading my opening presentation at Camden Public Library.

Reading my opening presentation at Camden Public Library.

 

Showing off Mom's illustrations for "Noah and Logan Learn to Share" at Camden Public Library.

Showing off Mom’s illustrations for “Noah and Logan Learn to Share” at Camden Public Library.

Half the summer is gone already, but the promotional tour for the Noah and Logan series is still going strong.  I hardly notice time passing, though, because I am having a grand time sharing my stories with all of you.  My latest venture was to the Camden Public Library in Camden, NY, a beautiful town which is also home to Mrs. Bates, my former speech teacher and still close friend, who did much to help me learn how to communicate well.  I was pleasantly surprised to see her in the audience for my presentation!

My visit came as part of the Library’s summer reading program; colorful posters with characters having fun reading books were everywhere in the room (My favorite was the poster with a trio of platypuses in exciting action poses; who would have thought marsupials could be so macho?).  The kids in attendance were filling out activity sheets, coloring, speaking with each other about their interests, and even reading books.  I could tell they were all very happy indeed.

When I read my Noah and Logan stories to the group, I walked back and forth in front of my audience, giving all a chance to see the illustrations my mom did for the books; I have come to view her drawings as an essential part of the e-books’ success.  Even though I took many steps as I read my books, I did not feel exhausted at all.  I was having just as much fun with the stories as my audience was!  I also shared my poem, “Autism Awareness” with the group.  This poem always seems to get a very positive reaction from everyone I share it with, and I like seeing the big smiles my poem generates on people’s faces after they hear it.

I also greatly enjoyed the brief question-and-answer session at the end of my presentation.  The audience asked some great questions about my writing and life, and I was glad to supply my perspectives for them.

I would like to thank the Camden Public Library’s librarian, Ms. Linda Frenzel, for giving me this opportunity and for helping to make the event a tremendous success.  It was a great turnout, and I was very happy to share the Noah and Logan series with everyone there.

My next stops on the Noah and Logan summer tour will be the Williamstown Public Library at 2877 County Rte. 17 in Williamstown, NY, on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at 10:30 A.M. and the Oswego Farmer’s Market at West 1st Street in Oswego, NY, on Thursday, July 23, 2015, from 5:00 – 6:00 PM.  I hope to see you there!  Please stay tuned to this blog, my web site:  www.benjaminkmkellogg.com, and my Facebook pages to learn about other upcoming events on the tour.  Who knows, I might be coming near to you soon!

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour, Part 3: Ainsworth Memorial Library Book Sale, Oswego County Fair, and Hannibal Free Library (and My New Website!)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
Sharing "Noah and Logan Learn to Clean" at the Ainsworth book sale.

Sharing “Noah and Logan Learn to Clean” at the Ainsworth book sale.

 

Reading to the children at the Oswego County Fair.

Reading to the children at the Oswego County Fair.

 

Getting on the floor with the  preschool group at the Hannibal Free Library.

Getting on the floor with the preschool group at the Hannibal Free Library.

The summer promotion tour for my Noah and Logan stories has been gathering quite a lot of steam in the past few weeks.  I cannot express in words how much I am truly enjoying sharing my stories, and now, I have a chance to share them with millions more people online.  With the help of Jim Purdy of ARISE, my mother and I have set up a new website!  If you visit www.benjaminkmkellogg.com, you can find information about me, the Noah and Logan series, how to purchase the e-books, and see a schedule of my upcoming events and appearances.  I will be adding information about newly published books to the website as I finish them, so please keep that page bookmarked.  Right now, though, I’d like to share with you some brief accounts of my three latest events.

The first event I participated in was the Ainsworth Memorial Library’s annual Book Sale put together by the Friends of the Ainsworth Library.  This year, it was held in the spacious Grange in Sandy Creek, NY.  The whole room was filled with tables adorned with books from the library’s collection as well as generous donations from people in the area.  It was really an impressive sight, especially when people started streaming in by the score to look at the books.  I shared my e-books with plenty of interested parties over the course of the two days I was there with a few in-depth conversations as well.  I also did a presentation about myself and my writing process for the Friends of the Ainsworth Library group and then read my stories to them.  I think we all enjoyed that very much.  The event had a very relaxed atmosphere, which I really liked because what could be more relaxing than partaking in a good book or two?

I was also invited to present my books at the Oswego County Fair, also held in Sandy Creek, NY.  I have fond memories of attending the Fair as a youngster, so I gladly accepted the offer.  I presented my books on two separate days along with other local authors.  To my surprise, this group also included Daniel Middleton, the Naomi “Redflower” author I recently met at another event in the area. It was fun to catch up with Daniel and share story hour with him where we both read our books.

The last and most recent event was held at the Hannibal Free Library in Hannibal, NY.  I read my stories to a group of preschool-age children.  It was a fun group, and I think it went very well.  It also gave me some hands-on experience interacting with preschoolers!

I’ve enjoyed the events that I’ve done so far and the Noah and Logan summer tour will continue with more stops.  My next stop will be at the Camden Public Library located at 57 Second St., Camden, NY, tomorrow, July 15, at 4:30 p.m.

Please visit my new website at www.benjaminkmkellogg.com for more on my upcoming dates and appearances, as well as everything you need to know about the Noah and Logan series along with all of my future books.  Until next time, have a happy, safe summer!

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour, Part 2: Pulaski Farmer’s Market and Arts in the Park

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
Pulaski Farmer's Market - At the ARISE table.

Pulaski Farmer’s Market – At the ARISE table.

 

Arts in the Park, Mexico Point Park- Me next to my poster.

Arts in the Park, Mexico Point Park- Me next to my poster.

The Noah and Logan Summer Tour has been going well.  I have only been to a few places to promote the series thus far, but I’ve had favorable reactions at every stop.  I am grateful to see there is genuine interest in the series from kids, parents, teachers, librarians, and everyone in between.  My two most recent stops at the Pulaski Farmer’s Market and Mexico Point Park for the Arts in the Park event over the course of a very busy and exciting weekend continue this positive trend.  They also gave me the chance to connect and, in some cases, reconnect with some truly outstanding folks.

My first sojourn of the weekend was a return trip to Pulaski, this time to participate in the local Farmer’s Market.  Here, vendors from across the region sold foodstuffs, had some spectacular arts and crafts, and there was even a band for live music.  I shared a table with some friends and representatives from the local special needs awareness and assistance organization, ARISE; good company to keep, especially on a somewhat sunny and breezy spring afternoon.

I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in my books at the market.  After all, I was offering a children’s e-book series, not food or the more tangible arts and crafts that everyone else offered.  To my surprise, however, it turned out quite a few visitors stayed a while and spoke at length with me about the series.  In fact, one of the first to come to the table was a fellow author I had met at a prior engagement.  We caught up with each other and we discussed writing and publishing.  It was great to see her again and the rest of my time at the market was just as fulfilling.  I made a few connections with other groups and institutions in the area which have led to further opportunities to introduce Noah and Logan to others.

The next event I attended was Arts in the Park, a gathering of local artists held at Mexico Point Park, a truly stunning example of the area’s natural beauty.  I enjoyed introducing the series to everyone who stopped by my table and the kids seemed to enjoy reading the stories off my iPad!

I was also delighted to meet another author at the Arts event as well, a very nice man named Daniel Middleton.  He, too, has written a children’s book.  His book, Naomi ‘Redflower’: Imagine with Me, is based on a highly imaginative girl and her love of insects and other animals.  In the story, she and her family go on a tour of Central New York and she imagines encounters with a variety of local wildlife during every season of the year.  My mother and I were very impressed with Daniel’s book, so much so that we bought a copy from him that day.  His writing style is very fun to read and his illustrations are gorgeous to look at, really capturing the beauty of the CNY countryside and animal population.  I highly recommend it for anyone’s reading collection.

The events of this very busy weekend turned out to be a lot of fun.  Both engagements happened outside in pleasant weather, I met a lot of very nice people, and I was able to get the word out about my Noah and Logan series!  I even met a fellow author who has written a very cool book himself.  All in all, I think this was a great beginning leg to the Noah and Logan Summer Tour.  Keep your eyes on this blog and Facebook for further updates regarding future stops!