Books have the ability to transport readers to a new world, and that’s how participants felt at the TMA’s Author Night with Margaret Peterson Haddix on March 28th. The event was held in Worthington, OH and benefited the TMA’s Pauline H. Siegel Eclipse Fund for Research. Pauline, one of the TMA’s founding members, was a teacher in the Worthington School District for 25 years. She was an advocate for learning and loved Margaret Peterson Haddix’s books for children and teens. As attendees gathered to listen to the author speak, Pauline’s joyful spirit was in our hearts.
The night started with a meet and greet with the author, and refreshments were provided by members of the book club to which Pauline belonged. Attendees munched on cheese and crackers, grapes, and chocolate buckeyes while mingling with the author and other guests. While some of the attendees were members of the TMA, many attendees had come solely because of their love of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s books. We were happy to spread awareness and explain our mission to those who had not known of the TMA prior to the event. Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) was also in attendance with two very special guests: golden retriever puppies in training to become service animals. Pauline’s service dog, Kazu, was her constant companion who she loved, and CCI’s attendance was a beautiful tribute to Kazu and Pauline’s bond.
When it was time for Ms. Haddix’s presentation, everyone piled into the auditorium and seated themselves in anticipation. Ms. Haddix shared photos from her recent trip to Spain as part of her research for an upcoming book. She also told a fun story about her daughter and a search for the perfect swimsuit when she was a child. But the highlight was the Q&A when several of the young people in the audience got to ask Ms. Haddix about her favorite books and characters. Pauline’s granddaughter even asked Ms. Haddix who her favorite Star Wars character was. The answer was Princess Leia, of course!
As the night came to a close, guests were afforded a last chance to speak with the author and get their books signed. Smiles and conversation were exchanged in the joyful atmosphere created by Ms. Haddix’s insightful presentation. The members of Pauline’s book club organized a successful event that served as a fitting tribute to Pauline’s memory, and the TMA is extremely grateful for their work in putting this event together.
Overall, it was a wonderful event, and we thank Susan Petrak, her book club, their friends and families, and the community for supporting our mission and increasing awareness about rare neuroimmune disorders!