My fee for a full-day visit is $1500 plus travel expenses. This includes up to four presentations. Or, if you'd prefer, I can do three presentations plus lunch with a small group of students where they can ask me questions about writing and illustration in a more casual setting.
Travel expenses apply to any school more than one hour's drive from my studio in Northampton, MA. They include the cost of ground transportation and/or airfare. The cost of mileage is at the current IRS rate.
Depending on the distance, hotel accommodations may also be required. I will reserve my airline ticket prior to my visit, but I request that the school arrange for my hotel stay.
I will provide you with a complete list of all necessary travel expenses for appoval prior to making any reservations.
Will you visit our school for a half-day?
A full-day visit may be shared with another nearby school for a half-day at each. In this case, I can do two presentations at each school.
The students went home brimming with ideas to share.
- Wendy Howk, School Librarian, San Antonio, TX
Engaging, informative, fun, and lots of other postive adjectives!
- Meg Clancy, Children's Librarian, South Hadley, MA
When I picked up my son, he couldn't wait to show me the illustration he did.
- Christina Ling Micalizzi, PTO President, Edgewater, NJ
Our students LOVED your visit!
- Barbara Donovan, Library Media Specialist, Buffalo, NY
Why you should invite an
author/illustrator to your school:
Meeting an author or illustrator in person can
be a life changing experience for a child.
It builds a student’s love of reading.
It encourages their creativity.
It inspires them to be write and illustrate their own stories while offering a practical
understanding of what it takes to create a book.
Most importantly, it shows them that they can achieve personal satisfaction through their own hard work and imagination.
What is my message?
Success in writing and illustrating comes from practice, determination and staying true to what you love to do.
While I share many aspects
of making books, my emphasis
is always on the importance of
being persistent, learning from mistakes and growing as a result.
One of my favorite parts about
making picture books is getting
a chance to show kids how
I do it, and how they can too!
Do I offer different programs for different grade levels?
Yes. Since I write books for every grade level, I also offer different presentations for each age group. With picture books like Good News Bad News, early readers like Hippo and Rabbit, and illustrated chapter books like Clueless McGee, I have carefully constructed multiple presentations that suit a range of grade levels and attention spans.
While reading from one of my 20+ picture books, I will share the answers to these questions:
Where do I get my ideas?
How do I paint my pictures?
How do I make art on the computer?
Finally, I show how to draw one of my characters with a step-by-step method that is fun and easy to follow.
Grades 2 and up (45-60 minutes)
My multi-media program explains everything you've ever wanted to know about making picture books and chapter books:
What were my drawings like when I was in 2nd grade? In middle school? After college?
How did I use practice and persistence to become a full-time author/illustrator?
Why do I use so many different styles to illustrate my books?
How do authors and illustrators collaborate?
Why is it so important to revise, revise, revise?
What does my studio look like?
How does technology influence the way I make my books?
What am I working on now? And what's coming next?
This is a chance for students to "look over my shoulder" as I demonstrate how I turn my ideas into fully illustrated books. I close each session with an interactive drawing demonstration that is both fun and educational.
What equipment is required?
Here is a list of equipment that I will need the school to provide for each of my presentations:
• A digital projector that I can connect to my macbook air. I'll bring all necessary adapters.
If your school does not have a projector, please let me know so I can plan to bring my own.
• A screen or white wall to project my images onto
• A room that can be darkened enough to view the projected images
• A microphone
• An easel with a large pad of drawing paper
• A bottle of water
• Crayons or pencils, paper, and drawing surfaces for each student
Will you sign books?
Yes! Book signings are a big part of an author's visit. They offers students a personalized souvenir of their experience and a special connection to the author's work. Plus, it’s an important way that authors earn their livings.
Sometimes schools and PTOs organize book sales to help pay for an author's visit. Many schools arrange their book sales through a local bookseller.
I will autograph any books that the school orders. With each book to be signed, please include a slip of paper with the name of the person to whom the book will be personalized.
I recommend using the time between presentations for signing books. It works best when the author signs in private. The signed books can be delivered to the students later.
I do not recommend having large groups of students wait in line to have their books signed.
I work with groups of any size, from large assemblies
to small classes
Whatever the size, please group your students as closely by age as possible.
For example, here is a great schedule: Grades K-1, Grades 2-3, Grades 4-5
When planning the schedule, please leave 10-15 minutes of down time between each presentation.
Grades 3-6 Writing Workshop (60 minutes)
I lead an in-depth discussion about the tools and techniques of successful authors. Using examples from my own books as well as famous stories and films from the past, we identify and observe the elements of solid storytelling in action.
How do you write a story that's fun and engaging?
And what are some secret tricks to make a great story even more amazing?
Together, students and I invent new characters, create plots, and solve story problems on the spot! This is an exciting, interactive focus on the writing process. And it concludes with an interactive drawing demonstration.
Interactive Drawing Demonstrations
I do a step-by-step drawing demonstration with every group that I present to.
If you would like your students to draw with me, please invite teachers to bring drawing materials for each of their students. I highly recommend this experience. It helps kids build skill and confidence, and they leave the presentation with their own personal work of art!
However, if you prefer that your students not draw, it's no problem. They will still be able to watch me work and contribute to the image I create. Either way, it's fun for everyone!