Interacting with people of all ages is one of the highlights of being an author and writing instructor. In school presentations, I talk with children about the importance of revision that follows the never-perfect first draft, as well as how mere curiosity and “small moments” lead to ideas and story beginnings. My focus is nature, but the sub-focus is perseverance.
Most of my presentations integrate Common Core Curriculum standards found in my and illustrator Sylvia Long’s nature series covering the topics of eggs, seeds, butterflies, rocks, nests, and beetles. What the planet will be like is in our children’s little hands. Their superpower is knowledgeable stewardship derived from facts. The series is chockfull of information and little-known facts.
Other presentations are designed to inspire children to pursue their dreams with
courage and perseverance, no matter what their method of learning, and no
matter if they’ve heard words of discouragement from others. These presentations
stem from the themes of DREAM SOMETHING BIG/THE STORY OF THE WATTS
TOWERS, with its artful engineering based on reusing, recycling, and repurposing,
and THE MOON OVER STAR, highlighting space travel as one of the most all-time
historical feats of engineering, technology, exploration, and teamwork.
The goal of my presentations is to ignite children’s imaginations, inspire curiosity
and motivate them to plunge into writing, storytelling, nature, and art full STEAM
What are your presentations like?
My presentations are interactive and designed to encourage questions by both children and teachers. I’m there to talk about what they want to know. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned about writing, where ideas come from, the necessity of revision, and how writing can be fun. Generally, I read one of my books, show a 15-minute PowerPoint, and talk about my experience as a writer— both as a children’s book author and a former journalist. A good portion of time is allotted for Q&A.
Note: Students should be familiar with my books ahead of time!
Will you do virtual visits?
Absolutely! Speaking to children this way is more of a conversation, more of a personal experience, and likely more rewarding. Class by class, each child has an opportunity to talk to me, and I, them. I prefer to visit virtually one to two classes at a time. For up to 55 minutes, my fee is $75 per classroom.
Which grades to you speak to?
My books are written for children primarily in the 5-10 age group, so I speak to
elementary age children in schools, home-schooling groups, public libraries,
summer camps, book events, museums…wherever there is an audience of kids
who enjoy learning!
Note: Some of the photos I show require a reasonable amount of wiggling, oohing,
ahhing. It’s a good thing! It shows they’re engaged, and that they’re feeling the awe
and wonder of nature.
How long is your presentation?
The standard session is 45-55 minutes. My on-site fee includes up to three sessions
per day, “Lunch with the Author,” a book-signing and, upon request, a brief one-to-one mentoring conversation with individual students who need encouragement of any kind.
How large a group will you speak to?
Over 3 sessions, I can speak to as many children as you’d like if they are grouped by complimentary grade levels.
What do you require for your presentations?
My books should be on-hand at the presentation site, along with a table for displaying them; a cordless microphone makes it easier for all to hear; a projector and the school’s computer to show my PowerPoint; water—and coffee, please! A big hit and something I enjoy is “Lunch with the Author” with up to 12 students. These gatherings are typically held in the library. I have no dietary requirements. Any food is fine, whether it’s take-out, potluck, the school cafeteria, or a nearby café.
Should your visit include a book-signing?
I hope so! But they’re optional. Children usually want at least one book after a presentation.
Book-signings are a fun way to chat with them individually, too.
How do I order books?
It’s easy. The very best way is by working with a local bookstore—and an independent one, when possible! They can handle orders and offer discounts to your school. They will also return to the publisher any unsold books. Ordering directly from the publisher is also an option, but it requires time and effort, and any unsold books purchased through this venue cannot be returned.
When is the best time to sell books?
You should sell prior to the day of presentation but do order extras so they’re available on the day of the visit. When you order through a bookstore, you only pay for what is sold, so it’s ok to order more for people who haven’t prepaid. I recommend having adhesive labels on hand that I can sign for students who will be purchasing/receiving books after the date of presentation.
What is your honorarium?
I will work within your budget.