SCHOOL AUTHOR VISTS
What do your author visits involve?
My author visits can either be a half day or a full day. I am willing to talk informally with a small group of students or teachers over lunch. I can read one of my books to a kindergarten class. My visit involves sharing with the children what it is like to be an author, the importance of reading and writing, and how a book becomes a book. I also may read the book or discuss the theme of the book. I am open to other ideas, so please do not hesitate to ask me about other options.
How many students do you speak to at any one time?
I prefer to speak to smaller groups. Perhaps two classes at a time. This allows the children to focus and noise level kept to a minimum. The other important factor is the room. Libraries and classrooms are optimum. Auditoriums, cafeterias and gyms may be too large, too noisy and difficult for children to see. It is preferred if the children can sit on the floor as close to the monitor and presenter. It is important to try to keep all presentations in one location. Moving equipment around is difficult and will take time. It is not my role to discipline students. Children may get restless, act up or may have special needs. I ask that teachers be present during the visit and manage their students as necessary. I want this to be a positive experience for all students.
What is the preferred age group for your presentation?
The preferred grades are Kindergarten through 5th grade.
What are your Audio/Visual (AV) needs?
I ask for a microphone (depending on the size of the group), a podium, screen, LCD projector, laptop computer.
How can we obtain your books?
Book ordering is easy if you start early—at least six to eight weeks before my visit to your school. This will allow plenty of time for ordering and delivery. Sometimes your local bookstore may give discounts to schools. I advise schools to create a letter and send it out to parents. Some schools order a few extra copies to have on hand for children who wish to buy my book after the visit. You can also order my books through my publisher, Magination Press. The contact person is Emma All and she can be reached at or (202) 336-6034.
For Toilet Paper Flowers, Hold the Cheese Please and Bug Bites and Campfires, please contact Dr. Sileo.
Do you autograph your books?
Absolutely! I only autograph books if children ask and time permits.
What can the school do to prepare for your visit?
Some ideas are:
Make sure the children who wish to have a book, receive it before my visit. All teachers should have a copy, including the library. Put my books on display in the library.
Tell the children and parents that I am coming. Advertise it on the school’s website and send flyers home.
Have the children read the books in class and think of questions to ask the author.
Make a bulletin board for the hallway or in each individual classroom on the theme or characters in the book. Art classes can work on the bulletin boards; make posters, banners and bookmarks.
Think of creating a theme day at school. Examples can be Author Day, Writing Day, Read a New Book Day to name a few.
Let your local newspapers know of the author visit. It shows the community that you are encouraging reading and writing. Encourage parents to come as well!
What is your general availability?
My primary job is a licensed psychologist with my practice in Ridgewood, NJ. Because I see patients from morning to the evening hours, I have quite a busy schedule and a long day. If you would like me to come to your school, I would need at least a month’s notice to make accommodations in my patient schedule.