Last week I toured the Ottawa/Toronto area as part of the TD Canadian Children’s Book Week. Sunday, I flew into Ottawa and began the adventure. And what an adventure it was! One statistic that sticks with me is the number of kids I have been privileged to stand before. In my 29 years of teaching if I taught an average of 30 kids a year I would have taught 870 kids. Last week I presented to approx. the same number of kids. And it was indeed a privilege. I told my story of becoming an author. Intertwined with this story I told of a life in which I have met large and small challenges, loss and heartbreak, and followed dreams and in which I have so much to be thankful for. I attempted to tell the story with humor and sincerity and from an honest place . I was rewarded at every location. The rewards came through the eyes , the smiles , the caring questions and comments and in one place the spontaneous applause that brought this author to tears.(not that tears are ever too far from the surface) Time after time I was impressed by a group of attentive and respectful kids willing to soak up what I was saying. They laughed in all the right places and the places that brought about compassion and empathy they offered in abundance. Overall the week for me was about just that. Twelve times I stood before a large group of kids and shared a story that for me is heartfelt, intense and difficult to deliver. Every single time within the first few minutes I knew that my effort was not in vain. The enthusiastic requests for my autograph that will be forgotten and misplaced was not the indication that what I did last week matters. It is what I saw in glistening eyes, what I heard in heartfelt words and what I felt collectively in the hour I spent with each group that made last week an unforgettable experience for me. Just as I have always hoped that part of whatever I gave to the 800 plus students that I taught over my career mattered, I likewise hope that what I brought to those 800 plus kids last week resonates in a meaningful way. What more could I ask for!