i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

Pencils For Denmark

My husband was invited to give a presentation at the DAPUG workshop on New Language Features In Delphi on April 17 and 18th, 2012 at the Hesselet Hotel in Nybork Denmark.  I was invited to attend as a guest.  Jens Fudge was graciously hosting us in his home in Middlefart Denmark before and after the conference. Jens daughter Jessica is learning to speak English in first grade at a private school. In the Danish public schools English is not taught until the third grade. My husband and I were invited to speak at her school.

Whenever I fly, I keep a sock puppet in my purse, just in case I sit next to a child. I was prepared with my puppet Mary, but there were no children on the flight  to Copenhagen. I sewed Mary’s hair on during the flight. Mary has matching red button eyes and purple 100% cotton hair. She is made from a child’s sock purchased at a Big Box Store the day before I left Pennsylvania, the United States of America, for Middlefart Denmark.

On Monday we went to Jessica’s Fudge’s English Class. The students were seven and eight years old. Mary came to class as well. “Hello my name is Mary. I don’t speak Danish. Would you please tell me how to say thank-you. ”

The teacher translated and the students said loudly, ” Tak”

Mary, said “Tak, Tak, Tak. Oh, I need help. I scraped my knee when I came into school. Would someone please help me put a band-aid on my knee? ”  The teacher translated Mary’s request in Danish. I thought there would be several children who would want to put a band-aid on the puppet, so I brought many band aids. Only one child came forward to put a band-aid on Mary. Her name is Xenia.

I brought the book Saving The Liberty Bell by Megan Mcdonald from the United Stated to read to the class.  The English Teacher, Ricky, told the story in Danish after I read each page. My husband and I donated the book to the class after I had read it. Several months before we left for Denmark, I contacted Megan McDonalds manager, Laura Rivas requesting a book donation to the class in Denmark. Megan McDonald donated the first book in McDonalds, Judy Moody series. A hard back edition of Judy Moody was in a mood. The teacher is going to help the students write a thank you letter to Mrs. McDonald.

I thought how nice it would be to bring each student a pencil as a gift. Not just any pencil, but the  quintessentially American Pencil, Dixon Ticonderoga HB 2 pencil. But why just bring one pencil, when I have a big suitcase. I sent an e-mail to Marketing at Dixon Pencil asked them if they would be willing to donate pencils. Then about an hour after I had sent the e-mail I called Dixon and spoke to Nick at Marketing. He graciously offered to supply each child with one box of eighteen sharpened pencils. Dixon send their largest and best product, 18 sharpened Ticonderoga Pencils, with a satin smooth yellow finish and an exclusive graphite core formula. Crafted from reforested quality wood for easy sharpening. Top quality latex free eraser provides clean, easy corrections.  The World’s Best Pencil.

Dixon also sent each child a set of 8 colored makers.  There were twenty-one students in the class. I brought to Denmark 368 pencils, and 168 markers. The children were very happy to receive the pencils and markets. They are going to write to marketing at Dixon Pencil to thank them for the pencils and markers.

I was grateful to have all of that empty space in my suitcase to fill.

At the end of the class after I read the book and handed out the pencils and markers Mary said to the class, “I do not want to go back to The United States. I want to stay in Denmark and learn how to speak Danish.”  Mary walked over to the girl who had put the band-aid on her knee. Mary came off of my hand and went on the hand of her new friend, Xenia.

I will have to make another puppet for the flight home from Denmark. Just in case.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

Feature Box

Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Sherryl

    Pamela, what a wonderful story – and so well-told! I love your blog, creative lady! I could hear your voice in my head as I read. You are surely a kid-magnet.

  • belinda

    A little greeting from Xenia’s mother in Denmark. I can tell you that Mary is fine and will be found and shown to all individuals who visit our home. Xenia is VERY proud of his gifts from abroad, however, most of Mary. I am grateful for the gifts for my daughter <3

    • I was delighted to meet Xenia. She was very brave to come forward to put a bandaid on the puppet. Please send your street address to my email account, if I may have permission to write to Mary and Xenia. [email protected]

  • Anita Jensen

    Thank you very much for giving my daugther a fantastic day:-)

    • You are very welcome. I am very thankful to have been invited to the class.

  • berdeane

    Another amazing story, what a gift you have!!

    • Thank you Mother. Thank you for your encouragement. You have always been faithful and supportive, even when I was a bit radical.

  • What a fabulous idea! I am sure those kids will talk about the American lady, who brought Mary to them, for years to come.

    • I hope to come back one day and see Mary and Xenia and the children again. I think Mary will be fluent in Danish by then.

      • Jens Fudge

        You know you’re welcome any time..

  • lee

    Great story, and cute kids! And next time I need to buy pencils, Dixon owes you commission.

    • Lee, how could you not buy Dixon Ticonderoga? They after all are The World’s Best Pencil. I am glad you enjoyed the story.

  • The puppet is a genius idea! You were very resourceful in getting the pencils and markers. It sounds like a great experience! I enjoyed reading about it.

    • Thank you for your comments. I am glad you enjoyed the puppets and the pencil story. It was a fun experience, made possible by the generosity of others.