I love to talk with students about my books, writing nonfiction, and the publishing process. I offer several engaging, interactive programs, each geared for a different age group. Or, if you're looking for something a little different, I'm happy to tailor a presentation to your needs. And if you live too far from my neck of the woods for an in-person visit, I'm happy to offer virtual visits as well.
Here's a fun video of some first graders singing the fact-hunt song. You can also check out pictures of my latest visits. Or read this inspiring article about my virtual visit with students from Georgia.
Here, There, and Everywhere: Information All Around (Grades PK-1)
Have you learned something new today? I have! Writing non-fiction is all about learning new things. In this presentation, we’ll find out some of the surprising things I’ve learned as a nonfiction author. We’ll talk about the kinds of topics nonfiction can be about (almost anything), as well as where to find information (almost anywhere). We’ll sing a fact-hunt song and look at a seek-and-find picture of my office to identify different sources of information. I will also touch on the writing and publishing process. This presentation includes a question-and-answer period as well as a book reading.
Put on Your Detective Hat (Grades 2-3)
Writing nonfiction—whether a school report or a book—is a lot like solving a mystery. In this presentation, we’ll play a game revealing some of the amazing clues I’ve sniffed out as a nonfiction author. Then we’ll sleuth around to figure out where we can find clues to answer our own research questions. We’ll talk about taking notes (can’t remember all those clues without them) and then how to put them together to write our report. Of course, detectives don’t always get everything right on the first try—and neither do writers. We’ll talk about revising our work until we can say “Case Closed.” This presentation also includes a question-and-answer period as well as a book reading.
Dig In (Grades 4-8)
In this presentation for older students, we’ll pull out our shovels to dig deeper into research. In addition to talking about where and how to find sources, we’ll dig in to evaluate them. We’ll talk about how to tell whether a source can be trusted. We’ll play the “Use It or Lose It” game to figure out which sources are reliable (use it) and which aren’t (lose it). This presentation also includes a discussion of plagiarism—and how not to commit it. Finally, we’ll talk about revision and how authors have to write things over and over and over again—and then do it some more. This presentation also includes a question-and-answer period and book reading.
ReviseCraft (Grades 3-8)
Build it up. Break it down. Move it around. In this presentation, we'll learn how revising is like creating a Minecraft world. We'll talk about why even an author with more than 200 published books has to revise, how to break revision down into manageable steps, and how to get our friends involved. We'll do the revision shuffle to organize information and work together to beef up our nouns and verbs. Of course, all that building, breaking, and moving takes plenty of perseverance, so we'll talk about how to stick with it. We'll play the "Who Wants to Be a Perseverer?" game to learn about some of the famous people who persevered through failures to achieve success and change the world. Students will have an opportunity to think about their writing achievements and to set a writing goal. This presentation also includes a question-and-answer period.
Write at Home: A Family Writing Workshop
Writing is for everyone--that means you, too, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles. In this interactive presentation, we'll talk about the benefits of reading and writing together as a family (hint: one of them is that it's fun!) and how to incorporate reading and writing into family life. Then we'll put it all into action with a hands-on writing workshop, where you'll get the chance to work as a family to write a book, a family newsletter, and even some poetry. Don't worry, no prior writing experience necessary. Come prepared to laugh, learn, and have fun!
*All presentations also include a brief overview of how I became an author, as well as the publishing process
*Grade levels are suggestions and can be shuffled or combined. Most of the presentations can be adapted for any grade level.
I loved Use It or Lose It. That's stuff they've worked on in their nonfiction unit.
Teacher, Tess Corners Elementary
It was really nice to hear how you became an author.
Student, Eastview Elementary
It's great how you adjust your talk for each grade level.
Library, Central Denison Elementary
You inspired me!
Student, Evergreen Elementary
Students enjoyed your energetic presentation that was educational, inspiring, and hands-on.... You left them excited about writing their own books!
Teacher, Journey Charter School
You're such a great presenter. So engaging! I loved that fact hunt song. It was so cute and so appropriate!
Teacher, Tess Corners Elementary
The kids liked the games.... I really liked your description of the polishing process.
Librarian, La Farge Elementary
Both of my kids were so excited about your presentation on writing, they spent the night writing stories and talking about being authors someday!
Parent, St. Paul's Elementary
I believe the students will remember your presentation for the rest of their lives!
Teacher, Glyndale Elementary
For more information, including fees, or to schedule a visit, please contact me.