Author Visits

I take great joy in writing for children. Meeting young readers and listening to what they have to say about their books is one of the most enjoyable parts of this job. One of the best ways to do that is through a visit to their schools. I am a believer in offering free school visits and will do so as long as I can. If you are interested in having me visit your school, please read below.

What I do
My presentation answers the one question everybody asks: "Where do you get your ideas?" I show students the various techniques I use, and let them try their hand at short writing exercises. It's an interactive, energetic workshop that leaves kids eager to do more writing on their own. I believe that author visits should inspire the students to read and write, and to explore their own creative potential, whatever form that might take.

Designed for grades two through eight, a typical session runs about 45 minutes, but I can modify the presentation to fit your schedule. I generally work with three or four classes at a time, preferably from the same grade level. I've worked with groups as large as 75. I'll give up to two presentations during a visit, and spend several more periods doing informal classroom visits. If the students are working on a writing project, I'll be happy to peek over their shoulders and share some advice. I'm also happy to have lunch with students and/or teachers.
Things I may need:
A microphone -- preferably hand-held (either corded or wireless) with a mike stand.
An advance look at the schedule for the day. (It isn't fun for anyone if I arrive at a school to discover I'm scheduled for seven assemblies instead of two.)

I live in central CT. I'm within easy driving distance of all CT and southern central Mass. As I am making visits for free, I hope to keep long or unpleasant drives to a minimum. 

Q. Do you require any paperwork to confirm the visit.
A. No. If you tell me I'm coming, that's good enough for me. I understand that some schools require paperwork of various densities. I'm happy to comply. (Okay, not really happy, but I'll cope.)
Q. Will you speak to our kindergarten or first grade?
A. I'll be happy to stop by the class rooms to say hi, but I don't give presentations for that age.
Q. Will you spend a little time with our special-ed class?
A. Absolutely.
Q. Can a student interview you for the school paper?
A. Sure. I'll spend my time there however you want. You know your kids and school better than I do. Beyond the group presentations, make whatever use of me provides the most value.

Some Tips for a Great School Author Visit

What I Need from You
A roomful of students armed with pencils and paper (or a couple file cards). They can sit at desks or on the floor, as long as they have some hard surface for writing. (If the situation in your school, or the energy level of your students, makes an interactive session impractical, I can do a standard presentation without having the students participate in the writing portion.)
An LCD projector, extension cord, and screen or blank wall. In a pinch, a human pyramid of kids wearing white t-shirts will do the trick. 
PLEASE NOTE -- I strongly recommend that the students read one of my books before a school visit. While this isn't mandatory, I feel that the kids will get a lot more out of the day if they know who I am.

Planning Ahead
I don't have any particular time frame or restrictions for scheduling school visits. 

Book Signings
I'm always happy to sign books for the kids (and the teachers) during an author visit. 

Getting in Touch
Emailing me is probably the best way.

That's about it. There's really not much to do other than get me in the room with the kids. I really enjoy making author visits. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions that haven't been answered here. If you prefer to communicate by voice rather than email, let me know and I'll send you my phone number. 

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