Special thanks to School Librarian Extraordinaire Jennifer Reed for putting together this awesome video of my visit to her school!
NOTE: This video doesn't seem to work in some browsers. So if you see a blank space above these words and you would like to see what my presentations are like, please try a different browser! Thanks.
photo by Bob Sprankle
photo by Bob Sprankle
photo by Paula Renda
SCHOOL AND LIBRARY VISITS
"I have had rave reviews about your visit from teachers and students. Your presentations engaged and inspired the students. I have first graders who are able to quote your words because they were listening so intently. A fourth grader commented that you didn't talk over the students' heads, but spoke so they understood."
-Gail Nelson, School Librarian, Thomaston, CT
"I don't think I've ever heard such positive feedback after an author visit!"
-Laura Phelps, Media Specialist, Union 47 School District, Georgetown, ME
"You could tell from the questions, many from the adults, that the process was of broad interest to a broad range of ages.... Your whole program was just chock full of information and you presented it in a way that kept both the children and adults engaged."
-Nancy Denman, Head of Children's Services, Duxbury Free Library, Duxbury, MA
"Your slide presentation kept the students interested and focused, and your easy-going manner allowed students to immediately relate to you and want to know more about you.... I sent a letter to Candlewick Press letting them know how much we enjoyed our visit with you and would be happy to recommend you to other interested schools. "
-Laurie Woodfin, Media Specialist, Neary School, Southborough, MA
"Parents stopped me all over town for several days after the event to tell me how much their children enjoyed it, and how much they liked meeting you."
-Judi Paradis, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
"You held everyone's attention for the entire presentation and the age span was about 5 to 85! ... I can't remember another visiting author captivating young readers more than you did."
-Linda Burke, Children's Librarian, Mattapoisett Public Library, Mattapoisett, MA
"Thank you for coming to our school. I loved your presentation you did! I dream of publishing a book of my own some day. I like to write and draw as much as you. Do you think I'll get a chance to make my own book? A lot of my friends can write more than me but I'm going to persevere. Anyway, thanks again!"
-Hannah G, grade 4
Since my first book came out in March of 2000, I have visited hundreds of schools. I'm very fortunate to be able to spend my days writing and illustrating books, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences with students and teachers.
Now that I've been visiting schools for nearly two decades, I've had several experiences lately where I'm sitting at a book signing and a teenager, or even an adult, comes up to me and says something like, "Hey, I remember you! You came to my school when I was in 4th grade!"
Talking with these people, I am amazed not only by the fact that they recognize me ten or twelve years later, but by the fact that they actually remember what I said. They remember my books. They remember how many times I had to re-draw a certain illustration.
It's extremely gratifying to know that I can have an impact on kids, and teach them something, and hopefully even inspire them to write and draw, and make books of their own.
My presentation is always changing, because with each book I work on, I have new experiences I want to share with students. Each presentation is about 50 minutes long. For grades k-1, I keep it a bit shorter.
For the younger kids (grades k-1), I usually start my presentation by reading one of my books, with slides of all the illustrations. Then I show a slide presentation that explains all the work that goes into making a picture book. I let the students see how the stories and the pictures develop.
For the older kids (grades 2 and up), I focus more on the process of writing, rewriting, revising, researching, and sketching (and re-sketching...). I want to show kids that a lot of work goes into making a book, and even their favorite authors and illustrators don't usually get it right the first time.
In my presentations, I show my rough drafts, complete with all my editor's marks. I show photographs I took of my friends and family, posing for different illustrations; the sketches I brought to my editor and art director; the sketches that I needed to redo a few times; and the final drawings.
Each presentation ends with a drawing demonstration and question time.
I alter my presentation depending on the age of the audience, so it works well for all ages. I also love speaking to grown-ups.
Any size audience is fine with me, as long as everyone can hear me and see the slides.
BOOK SALES AND
Or as an alternative, some
schools order books through a local bookstore,
which seems to work out great for everyone because
a) it's less work for you, and b) it helps local
you choose to go that route, I'm happy to provide
an order form for the store to use.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS
-Make it fun!
Since a few of my
books have a baseball theme, maybe you can let the
kids wear baseball
caps that day (even if they're Yankee fans!). Or
art teacher can have the kids do some book-related
anticipation of my visit. Be creative!