School and Library Visits
School program basics
Book signings - to sell or not to sell?
I like to keep programs as informal as possible so children can
participate. This is why I prefer smaller groups
to to auditorium-sized ones. I am happy to talk about using many of my books as the basis for a talk. However, popular subjects include:
A Trip to the Rain Forest
Using slides, I take my audience to the Amazon along with the kids
chronicled in Ultimate Field Trip 1: Adventures in the Amazon
Rain Forest. Students explore this exotic environment through
the eyes of children their age. Pictures of plants and wildlife
illustrate a discussion of rain forest ecology, adaptation, and
Countdown to Adventure
In this presentation, I take the group to Space Academy in Huntsville
along with the kids in Ultimate Field Trip 5: Blasting Off to
Space Academy. Kids in the audience learn about
astronaut training by seeing the adventures of children portrayed
in the book. Slides of Space Academy kick off discussions of space
travel, exploration and the challenge of living in a world without
Brainstorm to Bookshelf
Using slides of my work, I trace a nonfiction book's journey from
idea to finished product. Writer's notebooks, marked-up manuscripts,
and designer's proofs show that even professionals need many drafts
to perfect their work. I also discuss how exciting nonfiction differs
from the encyclopedic stuff no one likes to read. Many schools have
enjoyed using either my book on the rain forest or Space Camp (Ultimate
Field Trip 1: Adventures in the Amazon Rain Forest or Ultimate
Field Trip 5: Blasting off to Space Academy) as the focus of
A Book is Just Another Research Project
This talk is often commissioned to kick off research projects undertaken
by 3rd to 6th graders. It uses the process of creating a nonfiction
book to explain how to gather information, organize it, and express
it well. Kids are more willing to tackle an outline and additional
drafts when they realize professional writers do it too.
Teachers' Workshop: The Use of Dynamic Nonfiction
in the Classroom
This workshop can be included in a school visit or scheduled independently.
In it, I discuss the characteristics of good nonfiction writing,
ways to teach students to wed writing mechanics with the creative
process, and exercises teachers can adapt to their own curricula.
I'd also be happy to talk about how to use my own books in the classroom
School Program Basics
Audience Age Range: K-6.
Audience Size: Larger numbers can be accommodated, however, one
or two classes is an ideal size for a highly interactive presentation.
Writing workshops are limited to one individual class at a time.
Number of Presentations: Up to 3 per day, an hour each. Kindergarten
programs will be a little shorter.
Space and equipment requirements: A room that can be darkened for
slides and a screen. If I'm traveling between classrooms and the
school is on one floor, an A/V cart really helps.
References: Upon request.
Book Signings - to sell or not to sell?
For the first several years that I did school visits, I never suggested
signings because it seemed like shameless self-promotion. I have
come to believe, however, that they are a valuable part of an author's
visit. Kids are usually thrilled to have a book, autographed and
dedicated directly to them, by a "real live" author and one they
have met. It gets them excited about reading, and about doing their
Sure, there's some work involved for the school, but over time
I've developed a streamlining process that I'm happy to share with
any school that doesn't have one of its own. An order form is sent
home with students in advance of my visit. Then, I autograph the
ordered books on the day I come to your school. You can buy books
from the publisher at a 40% discount and pass on the savings to
the kids, if you wish. That brings a $15 hardcover down to $9 and
a $4 paperback down to $2.40, making the books more affordable.
And, all unsold books are returnable.
To get more information or to discuss your plans in more detail,
please contact me directly:
5 Oakview Terrace
Boston, MA 02130