I'm not sure if anyone else ever feels this way, but I kind of felt like a creepy stalker on Twitter, following Mr. Schu's every Tweet, favoring and retweeting most of what he posted. My opinion of him as a celebrity made me nervous to meet him. I should not have been nervous. He knew who I was immediately, and after talking to him for just 20 minutes, I could tell that he was a kind and wonderful person, definitely living up to his persona online. He even signed my copy of The One and Only Ivan. I found out about this wonderful book from Mr. Schu and he is definitely an ambassador for the book. Read his Nerdy Book Club post today where he introduces the trailer for the nonfiction companion, Ivan: the remarkable true story of the shopping mall gorilla.
After leaving Michigan, we planned to travel to Wisconsin for a wedding, stopping by Chicago for one day on the way. What a perfect opportunity to visit Mr. Schu's hometown, Naperville, IL. The weather when we got there was perfect, especially for a North Carolina girl used to 90+ degrees and extreme humidity.
Anderson's Bookshop is the store where Mr. Schu buys all his books. I can't tell you how excited I was to see this sign.
Children's book display on pirates.
I decided to bring everyone back books as souvenirs. I wanted to find Squish #6: Fear the Amoeba for Charlotte. Sadly, they didn't have a copy. Of course being at Anderson's made me wonder about Mr. Schu. I did tweet very excitedly that we were there. I was going back to the children's section and who did I see? Mr. Schu. And he gave me a copy of the Squish book I had just asked for in the store! Of course, everyone knew Mr. Schu, and I found out he even gets mail at Anderson's!
Carolyn and I both read Squish on the way home. I knew my 8-year old would LOVE it and we wouldn't get to read it once she had it. When we got home and I gave it to her, Charlotte jumped up and down yelling, "It's Squish."
I am very lucky because Mr. Schu is scheduled to present at the North Carolina School Library Media Association conference in October. The conference will be held in Winston-Salem, NC, where I was born and grew up. I know Mr. Schu will be busy, but I hope to treat him to lunch or dinner, and spend some more time talking with him. He is definitely still a Twitter celebrity, but he is also a friend.