We've finished the end of the first leg of the book tour, a fun and exhausting 10-day jaunt. We visited 8 schools, read at 11 bookstores and libraries, did 6 media interviews. Now, I'm home and Hannah is in London on a school trip.
I posted a few snapshots from the road a few days ago. Now, a few other vignettes from our travels:
-- On Thursday night, Hannah was told by a cab driver: "You will be eated by coyotes." Um, okay.
-- On Friday morning, after we spoke to an enthusiastic group of middle schoolers at the Chapin School on the Upper East Side, we stopped at the Yorkville Creperie for breakfast. There, we talked to Heinrike (sp?), one of the wonderful team of servers, about our project, her Danish roots and her love of travel. At the end, she asked if we would allow her to pay for our breakfast and then donate the amount we would have been charged to The Hunger Project. Fun idea! Hannah and I have decided to match it. Hunger Project team, the check is in the mail.
-- I watched Hannah come thisclose to losing her cool for the first time in public -- for good reason. It unfolded like this: At the Highland Park Library, a woman told us she thought it was great that we were delivering the message of The Power of Half to affluent communities like theirs. And she wondered if we were speaking in any inner-city neighborhoods. I said yes, that we were speaking to less-affluent schools in Atlanta and elsewhere, and I offered up that studies of giving show that the lower and upper classes are the most generous givers, while the middle class lagged.
Then from the back, a woman announced: "Why would you go into those poor neighborhoods? Those people will just try to get your money." I focused on the audible gasp from the otherwise terrific audience, shocked by the statement. So, I barely noticed as Hannah reached for the mike. When I did, I tried to catch her eye to calm her down, but she began speaking. Through clenched teeth, Hannah growled, "It's NOT about the money or the size of your project. It's about giving of yourself. I believe the less well-off can do that as much as the wealthy, and get the great feeling of giving that comes from it." Fortunately, at that point, she paused. I could feel her tension release. I quickly called for another question.
Only after a dozen kids came up to ask Hannah to sign their extra-credit sheets for their schools did my co-author calm down. If that kind of narrow-mindedness is what angers my daughter, I'll take it.