12 Days of Christmas, Day 6 – Dianne de Las Casas

For the last day of 2011, and the 6th day of The 12 Days of Christmas I am absolutely delighted to present Dianne de Las Casas who founded PICTURE BOOK MONTHwhich ran in November and which I appeared in. How amazing that was and what a reception we had. Just wait till you see who has been lined up for 2012.Dianne is an award-winning author and storyteller who tours internationally presenting author visit/storytelling programs, educator/librarian training, workshops, and artist residencies and she is another passionate champion of literacy.

For us in the Southern Hemisphere this Christmas memory might seem rather strange but here comes winter and snow!

Dirty the Snowman

I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. In the South, it rarely snows and when it does, it is an event. In December 2009, I had a holiday book signing at Barnes & Noble in Baton Rouge, a 1.5 hour drive from New Orleans. Though sleet and snow was in the forecast, I was determined to get to the bookstore! I have never cancelled a book signing. My then 9 year old daughter, Eliana, accompanied me.

We left New Orleans early but the weather began deteriorating. Freezing rain quickly turned into sleet, making the roads slick and dangerous. I proceeded cautiously and it took me nearly 3 hours to reach Baton Rouge. Because of the weather, there were few people in the store. Still, people were in the holiday spirit and I had a nice crowd.

In the middle of my book signing, people began gathering at the front of the bookstore. I asked Eliana to check it out. She ran back shouting, “Mommy, it’s snowing!” Everyone rushed outside and sure enough, soft flurries were settling on the cars in the parking lot. The flurries turned into flakes. I let Eliana play in the snow, watching her catch snowflakes on her tongue. There have been many Decembers when we spent Christmas in shorts and t-shirts so seeing snow accumulate was immensely exciting.

There was no way I could drive back home in the inclement weather. Southern cars don’t take kindly to snow! My friend, Holly, who lived nearby, offered us a place to stay. Enough snow had accumulated in her backyard that our children began building a surprise. When they were done, they unveiled… “Dirty the Snowman!” Our children rolled and stacked three huge snowballs all by themselves. They decorated him with two coals for his eyes, a carrot for his nose, branches for his arms, and an orange baseball cap on top of his head. He wasn’t the pristine white snowman of our Christmas cards with a button nose and top hat, but he was a snowman built with Southern pride.

We ended the night with hot cocoa, cookies, and lots of laughter. Our snowman looked like a mud pie but he was a celebrity! Everyone wanted pictures with “Dirty the Snowman.” That cold, snowy December day in Louisiana is now a warm holiday memory. Every December, we wish for snow, hoping that maybe, just maybe, Dirty the Snowman will make a return visit.

Make sure you drop in to Dianne’s website (she’s also on Twitter: @storyconnection and Facebook: fanofdianne) and don’t forget to check out Picture Book Month – I am sooooo thrilled to be part of that gang!!!e you in 2012.

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