When Anita Rizley of Austin Public Library System gave us the choice to present our Author & Illustrator Visit at one of the libraries, Larry and I jumped at the chance when we learned of Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center. We have a nephew who has gone through every institution and every lock-up situation imaginable which gives us some insight to the life of the teens at the center and we knew we wanted to be there. Devo Carpenter of the 2nd Chance Books program led us in and we presented our program to a group of teenage girls at the center. It was truly an honor.
As Maid Martha, Medieval Comedienne and Stand-Up Historian, I came in costume with my Irish drum and discussed my background, author’s point of view and performed our book, ‘The Ghost of Hampton Court’. My illustrator husband & creative partner, Larry Dowell discussed life as a professional artist, the many facets of art and his illustration of our book itself. The girls were all extremely polite and it was a joy to see their bright faces and see them relax and warm up to the presentation and begin to respond.
We enjoyed the girls’ many questions and I got a big kick out of the fact that at the end they requested jokes! And that’s how the session ended – with me telling several Medieval jokes, getting to hear their laughter and Larry and I seeing their great smiles as they left. Thank you, John Pipkin and Cyndi Hughes and Writers’ League of Texas for funding this as part of your Project WISE Summer Camp program. You are doing the right thing!