21 ways to spend your summer getting ready for next year’s author visits

21 Ways to spend your summer getting ready for next year's author visits
I love doing school visits, but I have to confess, I love summer break, too. I wrapped up my final visit last week, which got me thinking about things we can all do, during summer break, to help our school visit careers once school is back in session. Here are a few suggestions…

1. Polish up that brochure you’ve been planning and have it printed. I like Vistaprint.com and Gotprint.com. They’re both quick and efficient. Things you might want to include in the brochure: [Read more…]

15 things I’ve learned about author school visits


At this point, I’ve spoken to well over FIFTY THOUSAND STUDENTS. (Gulp!) I’ve learned a few things along the way…

PuddlePugGiveaway(This is an expanded version of an article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of “The Highlighter,” the newsletter of the Mid-Atlantic Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I’m running a contest this week! By June 1, 2015, pop down and leave a relevant comment – to make sure I don’t confuse you with a spammer – and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Puddle Pug WITH the adorable Scholastic CD audio version of the book. There will be two winners, so your changes are good. Good luck!)

1. Pre-Ks, kindergartners and first graders do not really ask questions. They TELL you things. Some things they tell you are sweet and entertaining, but a dozen “I-have-a-dog-too” refrains can eat up precious time. For this reason, I generallystudents raising hands only invite questions from 2nd grade and up.

2. The best presentation is one that combines education and entertainment. I want them to be entertained; they’ll pay closer attention and will remember everything more clearly. But I want them to walk away with skills and knowledge they can apply to their own reading and writing. This is doubly true in this age of standardized tests.

How to ensure a GREAT author visit

How to ensure a sparkling author visitThis is the true story of a pair of author visits I did in the same week. The schools were very similar:
• Rural K-12 shared campus
• Elementary borrowed the high school auditorium for my assemblies.
• Both schools included 6th graders in the program for older elementary students.

My days in these schools should have been very similar, right? [Read more…]

Planning for a wide age span

DogsPlanSpan_150Now and then, I hear from folks asking for advice about writing, publishing or school visits. When I’ve taken the time to write a long response, I like to make that time do “double duty” by posting my reply online where others can benefit. Recently, I heard from a person who has been asked to present to a huge assembly (500 students) with a very wide age span – pre-k through 5th grade (!!!) – so she asked for any advice I could offer related to the visit. Here’s my reply: [Read more…]

Lunch with the author

Delightful crocodile and monkey cookies served during a festive Lunch with the Author at Hudson Maxim School in Hopatcong, NJ.
Delightful crocodile and monkey cookies served during a festive “Lunch with the Author” at Hudson Maxim School when children’s book author Kim Norman visited Hopatcong, NJ, in the spring of 2014.

Some schools like to schedule a special “lunch with the author” event. Usually this means inviting a few students (selected by the school) to share lunch with the author. Or it may be a larger luncheon with balloons and pizza with a few students from each grade collected at tables, and the author is asked to drop into each one for a few minutes. (This was the case at Hudson Maxim School, pictured above. Luckily, I was supplied with plenty of croco-cookies to fortify myself.) Students are chosen to attend the lunch in a variety of ways, from attendance records to number of books read to essay contests to simple lotteries. How they’re chosen will be up to your host. [Read more…]