Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Chris Curtis, author of BUD, NOT BUDDY and THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM – 1963 came to Hickory this week. On Saturday he spoke at my Alma Mater, Lenoir Rhyne College as part of their Visiting Writer’s Series.

This year, the Visiting Writer's Series sponsored The Little Read - which encouraged young people throughout the county to read Curtis' books. Saturday's visit was the culmination of this great reading initiative.

Of course I was there!

The weather was stunning (sunny and in the 80’s!) and the weeds were pushin' and shovin' to be the biggest and baddest in my flowerbeds but I was quite content to leave all that behind. Chris told us how he became a writer, read to us from his upcoming book, and answered questions. Of course there was an opportunity to get his autograph so I lined up with the dozens of children and other adults who wanted to get up close.

Chris Curtis is so personable! He connected with each child or adult, offered his hand, asked questions, joked, posed for pics, and even signed Tee shirts. Somehow he stayed focused on each person who appeared at his table as though he/she were the only one in the room.

I had my copy of BUD, NOT BUDDY for him to sign but I also gave him a copy of BLUE. And do you know what he did next? Pulled money out of his pocket and sent me to the book table to buy myself another of his books! Wow! I was startled.

Oh, and I got my picture taken with him. I would love to post it here but I’m just not sure about posting people’s pics without asking permission. And well, I just hated to bother him by saying – “Oh and by the way, may I put your picture on the internet?” He was so nice, though, I’m sure he would’ve said yes. But still….


  1. What a neat story. I thought maybe you were going to say, he asked for you autograph, or was the copy of BLUE already signed? That was neat of him to give you money to buy another of his books.

    Don't you just love people who know themselves well enough to not intimidate others and to give others their undivided attention.

    Glad you were able to have this experience.
    Jeannie Smith

  2. I wish I could have been there, but I had a wonderful chance to meet Mr. Curtis Friday afternoon. My class at LRC was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to create the 4th-5th grade Hickory Public School curriculum for Bud, Not Buddy and the Watson's go to Birmingham. Because of this, we were given the awesome chance to chat with the author for a couple of hours.

    He is a genuine person through and through, and his books reflect the same genuine feel. I appreciated his comment that he is not a children's author. He writes what he would want to read, and it appeals to many children (and adults). However, he knows that most adults won't read a book labeled as a children's book, no matter what the content is.

    My estimation of Christopher Paul Curtis only grew when I saw how sweaty-palmed and glassy-eyed my 4th grade students grew with each page during my read-aloud. In fact, the time spent Reading Bud, not Buddy is the only time of the day that they are almost 100% focused. It's a shame that an insightful, creative man like Mr. Curtis can go unnoticed by most of the world, yet it seems that anyone with a camera and a lack of dignity can get 15 minutes of fame (at least on the internet).

  3. Trevor, I'm so glad you got to spend time with Chris Curtis. It was great to read about your impressions of him. Did he also visit Viewmont School?

    Looking forward to talking with you some more about this.

  4. Jeannie,

    Yeah I had already signed my book. I learn a lot from watching other authors like this. I hope I can learn to be so gracious.

  5. Joyce,
    Chris Curtis did come to Viewmont Elementary, and my students were very excited the days leading up to his visit. Unfortunately, I was too sick to be there on the day he came. I really picked the wrong week to feel bad!