Friday, March 9, 2012

Getting Ready!

When I started writing, I thought it would be really cool to do author visits. As a teacher, I loved teaching writing and wouldn't it be even more exciting to get to teach writing as a guest author? And in between writing, I daydreamed about the day those school visits would happen.

Now, those visits are no longer daydream. I've got my first one booked for just after DIGGERS releases (the elementary school I attended as a child has invited me to speak. Yay!), and I really need to plan for it!

I am still excited to be a visiting author, but now I'm feeling a bit nervous too. Will the visit go well or will it be a flop? What can I do to make it as successful as possible?

So I am asking you for advice? What tips and tricks have you used to make a school visit go well? What great strategies have you seen other visiting authors put into action?

Can't wait to read your ideas!


  1. Marc Brown visited my daughter's school last year and he was awesome. I think what the kids liked most was learning that he was a "kid like them" before he was a writer and that he drew a lot of his inspiration from his own childhood. He had a slide show - and one of the slides was his class picture, he pointed out the classmates that inspired his characters. Even Mr. Ratburn! Oh, did I mention I was in attendance, and um, loved it too... Just be yourself Brianna! You will be awesome!

  2. Congratulations Brianna! I agree -- be yourself and the kids will love it -- you're full of enthusiasm and spark. (Giveaways always help too -- got any bookmarks?)
    They'll also love hearing that you were once sitting right in their seat, in their school.

  3. Thanks for the ideas, guys!

    Robin-- Seeing Marc Brown must have been amazing! A class picture for this first visit could be fun. Since it will be a class picture from their very own school (and some of the people I attended school with are now parents of students). :o)

    Julie-- I will definitely try to be myself. And I agree, hopefully the idea that I once sat right in their seat will be interesting!

  4. I've seen several author visits and the ones that I thought worked best were the ones that asked the kids to think.

    Brian Heinz does a terrific job getting the kids to think descriptively -- using good verbs and all five senses.

  5. Brianna--way to go! I agree that getting kids to participate des a lot for an author visit. Even in a read aloud I give them jobs to do, like looking for a repeating motif and sticking up their thumbs when they find it, or repeating a refrain when I cue them by cupping my ear. Good luck and have fun!

  6. Thanks, J.A and Ariel,

    Getting kids really involved and thinking definitely sound like good ideas. I just have to find some good ways to do that... (For the little ones, I'm planning a little truck slumber party, so they should be involved. Now I just have to think up some good involvement for the older kids. :o) )

    Thanks for the help!

  7. When I visited my old elementary school, I brought in pictures of myself at that age. It was a great ice breaker and the kids loved them. It also made me relaxed so I could read my book and talk about being an author.

    Good luck!

  8. That sounds great, Kelly! It is so great that the kids loved it! And that you could relax! (Normally I'm a pretty good public speaker, but somehow the idea of my first "official author visit" is making me feel a bit nervous. :o) )

  9. Don' forget to take lots of scribbled on first, second, third and fourth drafts to show them - they love to see how many times you wrote the story (and the teachers love it because it stresses rewriting)!
    And if you're lucky enough to have copies of the artist's many sketches, they love to see them, too.
    Have a great time!

  10. Great ideas, Gale! Showing my many drafts should really give them a picture of my writing process! And I do have some pencil drawings from before the finished artwork (including an earlier draft of the cover). Thanks for the ideas!