By Caroline Jones
Someone once told me that the best way to cure jet lag is to spend a day surrounded by high-energy children, bumping around the state of Vermont from one CLiF event to the next like a pinball whose internal clock is seven hours ahead. I’m not sure how medically sound that advice is – I might need to check my sources – but that’s exactly what I did.
After a 36-hours of nonstop travel fiascoes, I returned home from a month-long backpacking trip around Europe. I promise – it wasn’t quite as spectacular as you’re enviously imagining it to be right now. But it almost was. Okay, it was.
Upon arrival stateside, I jumped back on the CLiF train for a day of presentations in Castleton and Middlebury. As you’ll no doubt remember from my last blog post, I was lucky enough to go to a lot of these CLiF events when I was growing up. While it was easier back then to blend in with the first graders (even though my criss-cross apple sauce is definitely still on point), I had a blast getting to see Duncan’s phenomenal presentations to new groups of apprehensive, then interested, then utterly enthralled young readers.
My favorite part of these events is seeing the attitudes of the most reluctant kids transform into unbridled excitement over their new books. Witnessing the visible shift in expressions throughout the presentation as they discover that, ‘woah, reading is kind of awesome, especially if they have books about Pele and astronauts’, is incredibly heartwarming. As the kids then scramble to get their favorite books, their diversity of interests is on full display. In my opinion, the award for best combination of books goes to one Castleton camper who chose Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, and, after careful deliberation, paired it with Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants.
Having left the kids of Middlebury and Castleton to dive into the lives of Amelia Bedelia, Frederick the mouse, and all their other new literary companions (and Duncan having left with the awesome new nickname “Dazzling Duncan” courtesy of Middlebury’s library-goers), I went back home and immediately fell asleep on the couch.
CLiF events might not be a good cure for jet lag, but they’re unquestionably good for the heart…even if I didn’t get a cool nickname like Duncan did.