Meeting a Blogger: The Letter, The Book, and the Otter

Do you often think how wonderful it would be to meet a favorite blogger – in person – and spend the day with them?  I certainly do.  And it happened!  Well, in order to tell the wonderful story, I must start at the beginning:

It Happened Like This…

Pete Springer is one of my favorite bloggers.  Our mutual interest in children and teaching was the start of our connection.  It has grown to include the love of children’s books, the great outdoors, how the little things are the big things, and more.  It’s a long list, and a good one.  When he planned a visit to see his three brothers, he wanted to connect with two bloggers.  Yes, he wanted to meet me!  Was I excited?  You bet!

It was as if we had known each other for years.  Well we had, of course, through blogging.  ‘In Person’ was the frosting on the cake.  With whipped cream and cherries and chocolate sauce.

Pete knew just how to start the day.  A letter arrived for the children.  It was from Oscar the Otter.  We love letters.

Dear Aqua Roomers,
My name is Oscar Otter.  I hope you liked my story with Billy Beaver.  Even though we’re different animals, we still want to be friends.  The most important thing about friendship is we accept others the way they are.
I have a big favor to ask you.  As much as I like Billy, I need a vacation.  I wondered if  it would be okay if I stayed in the Aqua Room with Jennie for a while.
I heard a rumor that one of my good friends, Gloria, is staying with you.  Even though people often tell me I’m cute on the outside, I know what’s most important is what’s inside our hearts.  I like Gloria because she is kind.
If I stay with you, we must promise each other that we’ll try our best to get along and share.  We need to make sure Gloria doesn’t get her feelings hurt, so remember to be a good friend to her, too.
Your new friend, Oscar Otter 

Here is proof that Oscar really typed this letter:

As soon as we read the letter and got over the surprise of getting a new friend, one who could actually type and likes Gloria, Oscar appeared.  He was immediately hugged by fifteen children, and then he was finally in Gloria’s lap.

You see, Pete understands children.  He knew how to bring Oscar into the classroom, knew how important Gloria is, and knew just the right way to combine everything.  Yes, he made the stars align.  I wish I had been in Pete’s class in elementary school.  Reading aloud to children is one of Pete’s passions.  He shared the book about Oscar to a captive audience.

We discovered that we both read aloud with heart, gut, and passion.  Yes, we laugh our heads off, and cry- in front of the class.  That’s how children learn empathy and joy, and all the social and emotional elements they need in order to become good people.  Isn’t that what’s most important?

There was music!  We belted out singing “This Land is Your Land.”  There was building and math.  Actually it was intense, because the building was tricky.  At lunchtime there were Jennie Stories.  Oh, that was fun!

Pete stayed in town at a lovely historic inn.  He toured nearby Concord, famous for Revolutionary War history.  We had dinner together with hubby that night, which was delightful.  A two hour dinner felt like thirty minutes.

What a perfectly wonderful day!

The next day at school, children wrote a big thank you letter to Pete.  Gloria and Oscar helped.  It’s in the mail to him with a few other thank-yous.

Thank you, Pete!

Your friend, Jennie

P.S.  Pete has written a blog post about our visit.  He has included many photos.  Please visit:

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in books, children's books, Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Gloria, Inspiration, literacy, picture books, reading aloud, self esteem, Teaching young children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

137 Responses to Meeting a Blogger: The Letter, The Book, and the Otter

  1. beetleypete says:

    Just delightful, in every way. I only ever met one blogger, when she was living quite near me for a while. Her and her husband met us in a cafe in Swaffham, and it was like we had always known each other. At her request, I didn’t take photos.
    Heading over to read Pete’s blog post now.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Pete. It was wonderful! Can you imagine if we had a chance to meet each other? That says it all. I know you will love Pete’s post. I made sure I didn’t do mine until he had the opportunity, as he wanted to keep the two bloggers he met a secret. Best to you, Pete.

  2. Prejila says:

    Excellent Nice post


  3. Ritu says:

    This is precious! 🥰

  4. beetleypete says:

    Reblogged this on beetleypete and commented:
    Two marvellous teachers meet online through blogging, and then they actually meet in person! A heartwarming true-life story for all the family.

  5. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderful meeting. I love how you both extended your personal goals to involve the children.

  6. Phil Strawn says:

    A warm story. I have been blogging for 12 years and have never met a fellow blogger. Maybe someday, there are a few I have in mind.

  7. Darlene says:

    What a special day for both of you and for the children. Meeting a blogging friend in person is so special. And I love the message of Beaver and Otter. A perfect book to share with the children.

    • Jennie says:

      Darlene, it was THE best. Pete was just the same guy I thought he would be, and vice versa. We connected like old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. Beaver and Otter was perfect! Best day ever.

    • petespringerauthor says:

      I knew Jennie would run with this idea. It would have been great just meeting her, but seeing her in her element (the classroom) made it that much more special.

  8. Lovely post, Jennie. I bet you and Pete had a lot to talk about!

  9. K.L. Hale says:

    This made my Sunday Ms. Jennie! I’m so happy about your partnership and friendships that light the room for the kids! Oscar, Gloria, and you two are amazing! 🙏🏻💕

  10. beth says:

    yay! so much good in one place at one time. two of my favs!

  11. Ally Bean says:

    Isn’t it fun when you meet someone– and feel like you’ve known each other forever? Which in this case you have, I guess. Love Oscar, just gotta say.

    • Jennie says:

      That’s exactly what happened, Ally! And Oscar is beloved.

    • petespringerauthor says:

      I worried that Oscar might steal Gloria’s thunder for a second, but I knew Jennie would make it work. It’s what teachers do each time a new student comes to class.

  12. willedare says:

    Truly lovely!!!!!

  13. I enjoyed your perspective on the visit as much as I enjoyed Pete’s. What a special day for all concerned! The children must have gone home so excited to share the news with their parents that they didn’t stop talking until they went to sleep. I can just picture it!

  14. Such a wonderful occasion!

  15. petespringerauthor says:

    Superheroes don’t have to wear a cape. Having taught for 31 years, I’ve met many outstanding teachers. Jennie is the latest from this noble profession. The lessons she teaches her students will stay with them for a lifetime. Jennie was, as I imagined—the kind of teacher that we would love to have our children or grandchildren have. One of the best things she does is give every child in the class a chance to shine. It’s no accident when former students return to see Jennie. This experience was one of the highlights of my trip.

    • Jennie says:

      My goodness, Pete. I am humbled at your many kind words. Thank you. Meeting you felt like an ‘at last’ experience. We had the best time.

  16. What an amazing way to meet the kids. On my best day, I couldn’t have come up with that. Kudos to Pete, Oscar, Gloria, and the rest of the crew!

  17. Oh well done to all of you, what a grand day!

  18. Sweetest post ever! am a fan of Pete and had no idea he was a childrens book lover too!

  19. I loved reading ‘your take’ after reading Pete’s the other day. 🙂
    And, all things considered, I am still gobsmacked and more than a little envious of you two! Just sayin’…
    BTW: I notice that Gloria doesn’t seem to be at all stingy in sharing the spotlight with your classroom’s newest personality! Good for her!

    • Jennie says:

      Laura, I still feel gobsmacked! It was the best day. Gloria has been wonderful about sharing the spotlight. She gets extra attention when she returns from her weekend excursions with students.

    • petespringerauthor says:

      That’s part of the Jennie magic. Everyone is welcome in The Aqua Room.

  20. So beautiful… Hugs all around! ❤ xo

  21. quiall says:

    Any day is a good day to welcome new friends. What an incredibly special day.

  22. Fabulous Jennie and I have shared both of your links in the Blogger Weekly on Wednesday… a wonderful visit that I am sure your class will be talking about often going forward.. ♥

  23. talkswithngugi says:


  24. What a neat experience! It sounds wonderful and I’m so glad Oscar is settling in perfectly.

  25. dgkaye says:

    How wonderful you two loving teachers would meet up. What a wonderful experience that had to be for both you. ❤

  26. CarolCooks2 says:

    What a wonderful meeting two passionate teachers…I’m sure your class has not only been left with an otter but some lasting memories 🙂 x

  27. JoyWadi says:

    Wow! What a wonderful meeting!😊 Hope to meet fellow bloggers too in the future, who knows?❣️⚘️

  28. What a joyous encounter and friendship… Wonderful share Jennie.. ❤

  29. tylerwan says:

    This is such a beautiful meeting, wish I could have one such experience in my life as well. So happy for you and your sweet experiences.

  30. bosssybabe says:

    Aww you finally met!! That’s wonderful! It sounds like he had an astounding time and I love that two blogger friends took the time to meet and enjoy each other’s company IN REAL LIFE (as the kids say)! hehe!

    • Jennie says:

      It was ‘real life’ and absolutely wonderful!

    • petespringerauthor says:

      Yes, in real life, and it lived up to my expectations. I had a feeling you’d guess one or two of the people I was going to see, BB. I hope to have my other post ready on Friday.

  31. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – #Goodnews John Howell, #Steampunk Richard Dee, #Poetry Robbie Cheadle & Yvette Calleiro, #Characters Gwen Plano, #Reunion Pete Springer & Jennie Fitzkee, #Interview Marcia Meara & Mike Allegra | Smorgasbord B

  32. sjhigbee says:

    What a wonderful meeting! My daughter is always telling me how toxic social media is – and I keep telling her that although there are dark corners, there are also wonderful places, too. Like the book bloggers I regularly encounter. And this lovely encounter just reinforces my belief that the internet has brought all sorts of lovely people together, who otherwise would never have met:). Thank you for sharing this, Jennie.

    • petespringerauthor says:

      Social media can be a toxic place, but my experience is there is far more of that on other platforms. 99% of my experiences on the blogs have been positive. Surround yourself with good people and I’ll bet you’ll be happy.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Sarah. We always hear about the bad social media news, so it’s nice to know there is good out there. It was a wonderful encounter!

  33. That was so fun to get your “side” of the visit, Jennie. What a joy that must have been for the two of you. Two peas in a pod, that’s for sure. The kids clearly had a ball. 🙂

  34. toritto says:

    Hi Jennie! Met one of my bloging friends a number of years ago. She was a local Florida girl who had married a Dutch man and was living in the Netherlands with her husband and two sons. She was here visiting family. I met with her and her family at a nice tapas restaurant in downtown Tampa. We had a great time and keep in touch. Best from Florida

    • Jennie says:

      That is wonderful, Frank! I bet you felt the same way I did, that your meeting was just as you expected the blogger to be, and more so. Writing is powerful, and it forms friendships. I would so enjoy meeting you, Frank. I’m sure Pete Johnson feels the same way. Best from Massachusetts.

  35. toritto says:

    Next time i visit my niece, her wife and 3 kids in Belchertown. Or come to Florida on vacation next winter.


  36. da-AL says:

    love this! warms my heart how blogging makes the world small & sweet ❤

  37. Jermena says:

    So sweet ❤️

  38. Pingback: Meeting a Blogger: The Letter, The Book, and the Otter – Site Title

  39. What a great happening! I had read it on Pete’s blog. Sorry, for the delay, Jennie! It was wonderful to see, how Pete tought your class. Best wishes, Michael

  40. ericanotinamericabooks says:

    Love this!

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