I have toured with my book(s) in the United States, England, France, and Germany. As a former teacher, I love getting back in schools and reading to children. It’s the most rewarding part of being an author.
Why are author visits to schools important?
Meeting an author in person can be a life changing experience for a child. It makes the writing process, reading books, and the authors themselves accessible and real to students. Author visits can motivate writing, promote reading, encourage risk taking and passions, and validate teachers.
What is your message?
My ‘Oscar and Emmy’ book series was created to promote compassion to animals, inform people about rescue and adoption, inspire people to do something related to rescue (adopt, foster, volunteer, or donate), and entertain children by showcasing my two adorable kittens. I use dogs and cats interchangeably when I talk about rescue and adoption, though the series is about my cats.
Do you offer different programs for different grade levels?
Yes. I have spoken to every age level from 12 month olds to 12th graders. Even though the Oscar and Emmy series is in picture book form, the realistic pictures appeal to all ages. I also check for understanding as I go, especially with the younger students. I am able to tell behind the scenes stories since I work closely with my illustrator and book designer. I adjust my presentations carefully to suit a range of grade levels and attention spans. Programs usually range from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on age/grade level and the needs of the school.
Grades PreK-1 (30-45 minutes)
I read either “Oscar and Emmy Get Rescued” or “Oscar and Emmy Weather a Hurricane” in completion. I check for understanding at each page. If time allows, I show pictures of the real Oscar and Emmy.
Grades 2-5 (45-60 minutes)
I read either “Oscar and Emmy Get Rescued” or “Oscar and Emmy Weather a Hurricane” in completion. I check for understanding at each page. “Oscar and Emmy Get Rescued” is very educational in that it teaches compassion for animals and promotes rescue, adoption, spay and neuter, and microchipping. “Oscar and Emmy Weather a Hurricane” is great if your school is in an area that has potential natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes).
I discuss the book process from the idea to publishing, including my collaboration with the illustrator and book designer. There will be a Q&A at the end. With the 60 minute option, I can share some actual pictures which inspired the illustrations.
I’m working on a curriculum supplement for a Science lesson for teachers to download to accompany this book in the classroom.
Grades 6-12 (60-90 minutes)
When I read my picture books to the older students, I ensure that they are engaged. I give a more in-depth look at behind the scenes, and talk about how Photoshop is used when creating a book. I can also discuss how social media is used to promote the book. I talk about how my first illustrator was only 16 when I hired her for my first book and how the students can work hard to develop their talents and have a good work ethic. I discuss the book writing process from idea to publishing. I touch on how I make a living as an artist and how I use my skills I learned in college and in my earlier career as a teacher.
What equipment is required?
If I am reading to ~75 students or less at a time, then I can just read from my book and don’t require technology. I prefer a library setting.
If I’m reading to more than ~75 students in grades Pre-K to 5th or any amount in grades 6-12, then the school should provide:
- A laptop/computer (for my thumbdrive), a projector, and a screen. (I bring my own presentation clicker.)
- A microphone for larger groups (preferably a lapel mic) if the acoustics aren’t good.
How do we order books and will you sign them?
Book signings are an important part of an author’s visit. It gives students a personalized souvenir of meeting an author.
There are 3 ways to handle books sales:
- Families pre-order my book through a form letter (which I will provide) sent home by the school in advance. Then, on the day of the visit, I will bring the personalized and autographed books to send home with the student.
- Families order my book directly from Amazon. On the day of the visit, they send the book with the autograph request form to school with the student so I can personalize the book and send it back home.
- The book order form can be sent home the day of the author visit for families to pay for and order a book through me. I will drop off the personalized books or ship them to the school a few weeks later.
If book sales are not allowed per your school or district guidelines, there will be a small increase in my rate.
How does a school contact you to schedule an author visit and how much does it cost?
If you would like to schedule a visit, or if you have additional questions about my programs, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After I receive your correspondence, I will provide my half day and full day rate for the current school year. If you live within 60 miles of Richmond, Texas, I waive the normal travel charge.
Travel and lodging expenses will apply outside of these areas. If I can book multiple schools in the same area, this extra cost can be shared between those schools. Two nearby schools can share the full day rate if they are able to work the schedule where I am able to make it to both schools in the same day.
I generally start booking visits 6 months in advance, and requests are first come, first served.
I look forward to hearing from you!