School and Library Visits

School program basics
Book signings - to sell or not to sell?
Contact information


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 biodiversity.

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 gravity.

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 this program.

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 if requested.


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 own writing.

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.


Contact Information

To get more information or to discuss your plans in more detail, please contact me directly:

Susan Goodman
5 Oakview Terrace
Boston, MA 02130
Tel: 617-522-0158
Fax: 617-522-2967