Of course there was also fun stuff in LA, not just scary stuff.
Jon Scieszka was there to whip up spirits and he did that with his usual fervor. Scieszka writes because he loves to make kids laugh, he says. His inspiration comes from all the weird stuff that happened when he was growing up with his five brothers. You can read all about his adventures growing up a Scieszka in his autobiography Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka.
He’s also very serious about his job as a children’s book writer. He advocates reading and literacy as fervently as he loves making the world laugh. In 2008 he was appointed the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and he has set up . His account of how he got an entire elementary school to salaam him — he told them that was the proper way to greet an ambassador — while gathered in a Catholic church was hilarious and one of the highlights of the conference. It left us salaaming him and helpless with laughter.
But for me the absolute highlight of the conference was when I had to assist a writer at the autograph party. My debt to my friend Priscilla Burris is eternal. She switched places with me and assigned me to the table of… Henri Winkler. That’s right: Arthur Fonzarelli a.k.a. THE FONZ! I’m not kidding you. He was there! With Lin Oliver he writes screamingly funny books about Hank Zipzer, the world’s greatest underachiever. When I told him I was there to assist him, he grabbed my badge, took one look at it, said “you’re from Amsterdam?”, got up, hugged me and… kissed me.
I mean, people, I was kissed by The Fonz. Talking about Happy Days!
Proof? Not The Kiss, but here I am with Henri Winkler, the sweetest and friendliest guy ever. Priscilla Burris you made my day. I salaam you!