It's always fun to visit schools and libraries. I enjoy telling students about my books and why I wrote them. Since I have a few Oklahoma stories, I try to encourage students to discover more about their state starting with my books. If they are interested in discovering more about their state, there are many books available.
For my presentations, I usually need a few tables for displaying objects that I bring with me. I have puppets, game items, posters, etc. If I'm bring along my items for the land run exhibit, I'll need at least three or four tables. I also need extra time to bring the items in and set them up.
If we work on a craft, I'll sometimes need newspapers, glue, scissors, markers or crayons, etc. We can work together on this list because I sometimes have some items and bring them with me.
I also need a mic if I'm in a big area such as a cafeteria, auditorium, gym, etc. If there are only a few classes (2 or 3), I may not need a mic.
Cafeterias, auditoriums, and gyms are not the best places to have author visits. Without a mic, children can't always hear me or other speakers. You also lose the closeness that students and teachers can feel when the room is so large.
I usually need a glass of water, and I prefer at least a 10 to 15 minute between classes. This is especially necessary if I am setting up the land run items again for the next group to see. Breaks give me a time to rest my voice for a few minutes. It's hard to continually read the story without a break.
I prefer smaller groups if I'm reading to students from my book. They cannot see the pictures very well if they're too far away. Also, with younger children, I prefer only two classes to a session. If they are very young, I may tell the story using the illustrations instead of reading it.
My books, with the exception of the Sunsets and Haiku book, are for younger children ages 4-10. My Toby book can be used with older students, and the haiku book could be used with students in upper grades.
I try to provide information on crafts that students can make after my visit. I also have worksheet examples for teachers.
I enjoy having the opportunity to sell my books. You may purchase books from me or from the publisher.
If a small groups of students are in a library or classroom, I prefer a chair to sit in while I read. Students usually sit on the floor or at their desks.
I prefer quick camera shots as opposed to videos is someone wants to film part of my visit. When working with children, I try not to put pictures on internet unless the parents have signed a statement (usually given to them by their schools) for permission to use their child's picture on line. Teachers usually know if a student's picture can or cannot be used on internet. I do not put names of students on the internet.
I do encourage a question and answer session. Some teachers have students make up questions ahead of time. Others do not, but I'll answer what I can for students. This should be a learning experience for students. Some may want to know where I get ideas for my stories. Others may want to know the process from the first word I write to the publication of the book. A few want to know how much money I make, and a few ask my age! I don't always answer some questions.
My fees are negotiable. I know that many libraries do not have extra dollars for author visits. Some have PTA groups that help. Others have fundraisers. I'll work with you on my author visits.