One of the most rewarding gifts of being a children’s book author is actually getting to see children connect with my books. I am awarded this special privilege every time I visit a school. I enjoy the theatrics of storytelling and find the process of teaching children about my job very rewarding. I always strive to engage students in my presentations and get them excited about reading and the writing process. I would love to visit your school.
I present to grades preschool through high school. My presentations are extremely easy to tailor to any size group, from small groups to auditoriums (requires special equipment provided by the school). In addition to my books I use a variety of media from PowerPoint presentations to puppet shows, to picture slideshows. I bring my own laptop loaded with PowerPoint presentations, but due to the space restrictions inherent to traveling, the hardware (projectors, microphones, speakers, screens) are provided by the school district.
My visits include pre-visit snail mail packets with materials and suggestions to prepare teachers and students for a successful author visit.
Fees and information:
$2200/day flat fee. Includes all travel expenses. For five or more days, there is a discount of $200 off per day. (A five-day visit would then cost $10,000 instead of $11,000.)
Ages and types of presentations:
Preschool/Kindergarten: For these very young ages my presentations include puppet shows, storytelling, and stuffed animal sharing. I find that the youngest kids respond well to a quick, snappy presentation. I don’t drag them up to my level—rather I get down on their level by sitting on the floor with them and initiating eye contact. I encourage the children to “help” me read each story, and I engage them with very silly humor and (sorry teachers) some yelling. I find that children this young tend to “get lost” in question and answer, so we skip that part. A short PowerPoint presentation with slideshow photos of my home, family and my pets is usually very popular.
1st/2nd Grades: I begin adding a little more information about the writing process for students these ages. I still include puppet shows and storytelling, but I also start adding a bit of information about the whole process of publishing a book. I keep my information succinct and make comparisons that children can relate to (for instance I compare my editors to teachers and the editing process to homework). I also show the kids galley books, original artwork and sketches. Schools have the option of printing out coloring sheet handouts to pass around. PowerPoint is used a lot in this presentation because I can show kids what a marked up manuscript looks like, show them scans of sketches and galleys, as well as photo slideshows of my home, family and pets. A short question and answer period brings the presentation to a close. (I strongly suggest teachers prep students for this by explaining the difference between a statement and a question).
3rd/4th Grades: For these ages I begin to elaborate on above presentation. I still use storytelling and puppets, but I shorten that part of my presentation and lengthen my talk about reading and writing. I add some information about how students can improve their own stories and I read them some of my silly poetry (think Shel Silverstien) for older students. I pass around original art, use PowerPoint, and provide word search handouts featuring characters from my book. These ages do extremely well with question and answer and get a lot out of the process, so I leave plenty of time for personal interaction.
5th-6th Grades: For these ages I rely less on my picture books and more on my silly poetry for older children. I really elaborate on the process of how a book is made, from the seed of the idea to the final bound hardcover book. I find a lot of kids at these ages are dreaming of being authors themselves someday, so I encourage them to stick to their dreams and share with them my personal creative workflow. For these ages I really interact with the students a lot. I ask a lot of questions and encourage the exchange of ideas. Sometimes I’ll go through the fun/silly process of working together as a group to rewrite a common nursery rhyme poem into something very ridiculous and hilarious. And of course, I use PowerPoint to help illustrate everything and show kids my home, family and pets. Handout options include more difficult word puzzles, mad libs, etc…
Junior High/High School: Though my current published books are for the very young I have had excellent experiences teaching to older students. Also, I am writing a YA novel. For older students I read excerpts from the novel and teach a poetry workshop. I use PowerPoint to describe the editing/writing process and show them my home, family and pets. I really interact with older students a lot, and encourage a free exchange of ideas. I talk about my favorite young adult and midgrade novels and ask the students to share their own favorites. Usually these presentations get pretty lively and the kids have a lot of fun.
Booksignings/Ordering: Feel free to preorder books for students/teachers. I will sign them, but I ask that post it notes with signing information (names only please) be affixed to each book (in absence of a note I do a general autograph). I also request a private area (like a teacher’s lounge) be provided for book signings. Public singings with young children tend to be very difficult on everybody—including me, to the teaching staff, to the students who could not afford to buy a book.
Bulk Order Discounts:
Simon & Schuster
HarperCollins: To buy books in quantity of 50 or more for corporate use or sales incentives, contact or call (212) 207-7528. For quantities of less than 50, send an e-mail to or phone 1-800-242-7737.
Little Brown and Company:
For information regarding discounts to corporations, organizations, non-bookstore retailers and wholesalers, mail order accounts, premium sales, and libraries, please send your inquiries to .
All other organizations wishing to purchase for resale should contact us at for assistance
More Information: If you are interested in a traditional school visit I encourage you to send any questions/concerns you have to
I am happy to answer your questions, provide tips and strategies for fund raising and student preparation. I always do my best to work with school administrations so that each school visit may be a special, memorable experience for both the students and the faculty.
Please email Karma for inquiries about Skype visits and prices.
I hope to hear from you soon!