So I came back in the end. It was tempting to stay though, what with the nice heat, the big blue skies, the kids chanting my name in the yard (once), that little girl telling me I was beautiful as a princess, those great picturebooks carpeting the bookshops, my grandmother's cooking, the lavender in a pot I was given, the amazing artwork by the kids, the scenic towns, the novelty of having to run a writing workshop with Junior Infants in 20 minutes... Very tempting! But I thought I'd have to come back to tell you about it and now I have.
It was an incredible experience, albeit physically draining (there is such a thing as a Signing Elbow). No matter, I'll do it again. And when I get the chance, I will post some of said artwork, because it's really worth it. In the meantime, you can go and have a look at the photos of the award ceremony here. It took place in an old Roman theatre that could sit 900 (yes, 900 proud and loud parents), with a big stage which was promptly taken over by kids (aged 5 to 7) who sang songs about each of the four books in competition! In the grounds around the open-air theatre, the organisers had arranged some of the things made by the schools for all to see... deadly! So, In Search of Happiness didn't win the award, but a cool book about the many metamorphoses of a lift cabin did. And as it was written by a fellow claustrophobe, I can only say yeah!