Deanna and I had a wonderful time visiting eight Illinois libraries, all in the Decatur area, which is in the center of the state. We brought tapes and cds to donate to each library and I brought my guitar to sing and play my songs about watching wildlife.
     Seven of the libraries - Blue Mound, Macon, Forsythe, Oreana, Mt. Zion, Warrensburg, and Maroa - are located in the beautful countryside around Decatur. The eighth was in Decatur. Everyone was happy to see us and we enjoyed meeting all the children along with their parents. On our way to the library in Decatur we crossed over the huge Decatur Lake and we also crossed a bridge that spanned an enormous food processing plant. The air smelled like breakfast being cooked. Lake Decatur is a long lake with many boats. Seeing the marinas made me feel at home. They reminded me of our Lake Champlain marinas.
      As we were leaving the library in Warrensburg the sky was getting dark with storm clouds. On our way to Maroa, we got caught in the thick of it and had to pull over to the side of the road. It was a thunderstorm that flattened rows and rows of corn and pelted our truck with hail.
      When we pulled up to the library in Maroa, it was still raining but parents were there with their youngsters all running under umbrellas to the dry library room where I was to speak.
      We had a great visit there even though everyone was wet from running in puddles outside.

      This part of Illinois is a flat and spacious place with beautful corn and soybean fields stretching for miles in every direction. When the wind was blowing the corn waved and swayed and looked like an ocean of green. The people were so nice and I feel like we knew them because they knew my books.On our way to each library Deanna and I drove slowly, trying to absorb as much of the magnificent Illinois countryside as we could. We saw hawks and ground squirrels, and deer. We saw voles scurrying across the highways. We saw the great midwestern sky changing hour by home from sunny to cloudy to rainy to sunny again.
      On the last day of our tour all the children and their parents who participated in the summer reading program got a free pass to the Scovill Zoo in Decatura. It is a beautifully landscaped place right on the shore of Lake Decatur. There I read my book "Armadillo's Orange" and had a real live armadillo name Tank nearby so the children could see him.
      Deanna and I were treated to a special meeting with the zoo's most prized residents - two beautiful cheetahs. These cheetahs were hand raised and very docile but we still needed to have a crew of zookeepers around us to make sure everything went smoothly. It was a highlight for us and very special. We thank the Scovill Zoo.
      I was honored to be the author chosen to help the Macon county libraries celebrate their summer reading program and I enjoyed every minute of book signing and reading to the children and drawing pictures for them. Thank you Macon County Illinois!

Check Our Jim & Deanna's Other Travel Logs
2004 Book Tour ---- Back To The Everglades

Outdoor Fact pages
Video Visits
Coloring Book

Travel Log

Born In A Tree &
Raised By Bees
music CD
Rattlesnake Dance
Wonder Page