In the beginning of January, I received a phone call from Target. They asked if I was available on January 27th and if I was willing to fly to San Diego. I don’t think I missed a beat when I said, “Yes”. They just became a sponsor for United Through Reading, which is this amazing program where people in the armed services, who are overseas, are videotaped reading a book. That DVD is then given too their children back in the US. So the event in San Diego was a kick-off for this sponsorship.
I flew out on Thursday and I went to the venue soon after I arrived (The Aerospace Museum) where they were preparing for the event. Target actually gave away 720 copies of Punk Farm to
the families in attendance and I signed every single copy. (And drew a picture in every single copy, too!) It was definitely the biggest quantity I had ever signed. (It took about 3 hours or so.)
The event on Friday was amazing. Target sure knows how to throw a good party. I facilitated a mural wall with the kids. It was so cool because I don’t always get to connect one on one when I’m at book events, so it was great to go between signing books and then drawing with kids. Some kids drew about the war or their parents; some just drew Sponge Bob Square Pants. But the bottom line for me is that I was so moved by the plight that the families must endure while their loved ones are overseas. Whether spoken or not, every kid and parent there was dealing with something incredibly heavy.
On another note, I had the opportunity to meet Gloria Estafan. (She was the main attraction of the night. She spoke of her experiences having a father who was gone to war, she read her book, sang and then signed copies.) I shook her hand, looked her square in the eye and said, "Gloria, I just wanted you to know - that at my 8th grade graduation - we sang 'Coming Out of the Dark' "
I think she appreciated it.
And to see just how tight we are now, check out this drawing a kid made of us all hanging out.