It’s a joy and prime motivator to leave my desk now and then to visit young readers at schools around the country. Their enthusiasm and curiosity never fail to spark my own. My presentations are interactive, filled with visuals, informative, and fun. The material is tailored to fit the age group, K–8. Each session ends with a Q & A.
School Visit Presentations
Becoming a Writer: From Small Town to Big Apple
Through photos and stories, I share with students my personal path in becoming an author. They follow me through my simple childhood in rural Iowa to my move to New York City after college, where my first book was published. I share the importance of reading and writing to reach life’s goals and encourage students to believe in their dreams.
Behind the Scenes of the Who Was…? Series
What goes into making a book? Many people and lots of time! Step-by-step, I bring students behind the scenes into the complex world of publishing one of my books for the popular Who Was…? series (Grosset and Dunlap, Penguin Books). The author’s part comes first. Then a host of other professionals do their jobs—editors, illustrator, copyeditors, fact checkers, and designers. After countless revisions, the book is ready to ship to the printers—and finally into the bookstores and the hands of readers. This presentation is packed with my personal experiences and examples.
On the Reporter’s Beat
Journalism is a fabulous way to develop the nonfiction skills of young writers. Motivated by real-life topics, they learn the skills of researching, interviewing, organizing their material, writing dialogue, and hooking their readers. I present examples and experiences from my writing of award-winning photo-documentary books, and encourage students to publish their own classroom or school newspapers, no matter how informal.
Thirty to sixty-minutes Skype visits are an accessible and affordable way for your students to meet and engage with an author. I customize these sessions to meet your classroom’s needs and curricula. For example, I can speak to the particular writing trait your students are learning, supplying examples from my own work and engaging their ideas. These sessions are most successful when students have read one or more of my books and have questions prepared.
- Honorarium $900 / day, plus expenses.
- There are no travel expenses for schools located 150 miles from my two home bases in Chicago, Illinois and Wausau, Wisconsin.
- I gladly travel to multiple schools within a district, allowing schools to share the cost.
- Maximum of three 45– to 60–minute presentations per day.
- Prices are less for two– or three–day visits.