"Dear Bookshelf Readers,
It has been a weirdly wild month. The whole combination of touring for Trucktown with Dave Gordon, Loren Long and Dave Shannon, and simultaneous Ambassador touring, has combined into a perfect storm of kid mania. I've been received by my people with small open arms.
Here, for instance, is a partial list of suggestions from Ambassador fans big and small of what I should receive as Ambassador:
those little flags for my car
guards for my embassy
an Apache attack helicopter (my idea)
instant restaurant reservations anywhere, anytime
a fancy uniform
a Captain Crunch style admiral's hat (Dave Shannon's suggestion)
Secret Service Franking privileges (mine also)
lifetime diplomatic immunity, for anything (ditto)
a million dollars (surprisingly not mine, but very nice)
official seal diplomatic pouch rank above TSA officials
championship wrestling style belt
require everyone to address me as "Your Excellency" or "Your Eminence"
A butt of Malmsey (traditional payment for England's Poet Laureate)
I'm thinking we should implement ALL of the ideas.
But the best, the absolute best tribute so far was my reception at the La Jolla Country Day School. The room was packed with 200 pre-K through first graders. As I entered, they presented me with a red satin Ambassador sash, and the fifth/sixth grade music class played an original composition, "Ambassador Fanfare," on kettle drums, trombone, trumpet, and xylophone.
I liked it so much that I went out and came in three more times. And Dave Shannon was with me, so I had them play it for him as Vice-Ambassador—
only half of it, and twice as fast.
It's been very cool to actually get the attention of the ever-fickle media to get across the message that we can and should let our kids read for pleasure. And that there are all kinds of good books out there that kids will want to read.
I have gotten an avalanche of requests. Some of them weird, but most of them heartfelt. The CBC is fielding more every day, looking for events important on a national scale.
I'm also working on a plan to promote the best of every publisher's list for Reluctant Readers, deputizing teachers, librarians, booksellers, parents, kids, and anybody who's found a book that works. Details to be released soon.
Oh, and Dave Shannon also taught a library full of 250 K and first graders the "traditional" way to say goodbye to the Ambassador: both arms straight up overhead, bowing/salaaming farewell. Priceless. Though my wife is not too crazy about doing it every time (or humming the Fanfare, now that I think of it).
Bum bum-bum Baaaahh!
This guy has things under control. Long live the Ambassador!