Four podcasts about author school visits

4PodcastsAuthorVisits_150I was recently reminded about a podcast I did a couple of years ago with Katie Davis on her Brain Burps About Books. Katie is a bundle of energy who’s just plain fun to chat with. We had a nice long talk about my school visits and the various ways I publicize them. A search turned up not only the interview with me, but also other Brain Burps podcasts where school visits were discussed. So check out THIS PAGE to listen to four different Brain Burps podcasts – with me, Bruce Coville, Barney Saltzberg and Jackie Reynolds (aka BeeBee the Clown) – that touched on author school visits.

Mine is the 2nd interview on the page – Session 109 – and the interview starts about 17 minutes into the podcast. (Not that you won’t want to listen to the whole thing. You will! Great stuff on Katie’s podcasts.)

My book I Know a Wee Piggy had just come out, so we talked about that, too. I’ve since changed the activity I described in the interview. Back then, I carried around little bags into which children reached to see what was inside. (One object for each color in the book.) Now I use large paper “bibs”–kind of like sandwich boards–that kid volunteers wear to represent each color. Lots of fun, very visual, and a great way to involve the audience in the reading of the book.

PlanningYourVisit_coverSmall_byKimNormanHave you signed up for Cool School Visits updates? Sign up using the form on the upper right side of this page, and you’ll receive a free copy of my guide, PLANNING YOUR AUTHOR SCHOOL VISIT, which includes sample programs and breakdowns to target your sessions to different grade levels. (If you’re on a smart phone, keep scrolling and you’ll find the form at the very bottom of any blog post, below any comments.)

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…]

“Cold Calling” that works!

ColdCalling_150Last year, I discovered an effective way to add an extra visit or two to an out-of-town gig. I’ve never had much luck with “cold call” mailings — not only when I was new to the game, but also when I had quite a few published books that librarians would likely recognize. I just never saw any evidence that my mailings ended up anywhere but in the trash. So I had nearly given up on cold calling.

Then, I found something that really worked! [Read more…]

Siri! Follow that bus!

FollowThatBus_150Whenever I’ve got the luxury of time, I try to scope out a school’s location ahead of time. I don’t do this for nearby schools (within 90 minutes) even if I’ve never been to that school before. But if it’s far enough away that I’ll be staying the night before in a hotel, if I get into town early enough, I’ll sometimes swing by the school the night before, just to get the lay of the land. What the heck. I’m there with not much else on my dance card for the evening, right?

Most of the time, the early foray hasn’t turned out to be necessary. Most schools have typically sufficient parking, and my smart phone would have gotten me there with no problems. But occasionally I’ve run into confusing locations that made me glad I checked them out in advance. Even when I HAVE pre-checked the location, the scene will be very different in the morning if I’ve been asked to arrive during that crazy student drop-off time.

Some obstacles to watch for: [Read more…]