4 Tips to Inspire You to Turn Your Book Into School Visit Material

Apr 18, 2019 | The Business of Publishing

If you’ve published (or are in the process of publishing) a book for children, school and library visits can be a great way to get your work in readers’ hands.  But you’ll need something a little more than just reading your book aloud to make an effective visit.

Book–>Idea–>School Visit!

Have you brainstormed ideas yet?  Here are 4 tips to help you generate some possibilities:

  1. Get fresh perspective. Have someone new read your book and tell you the most unique thing about it through their own lens.  You might find an interesting angle in your work that you hadn’t seen before.
  2. Remember your process. Think about the process you went through to create the work.  What was the most fun or difficult part for you?  What could your audience learn from that?
  3. Think about ties to curriculum. Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, think creatively about the ways it ties to your target audience’s curriculum standards.  That may help you generate angles that will be ultimately attractive to schools.
  4. Look for examples. Seek out visit descriptions from other creators, and let the sparks fly!  You can get started with these topics below, from 2019 attendees of our Crafting Successful Author & Illustrator Visits workshop.

See Some Examples

These authors/illustrators are bringing their books and ideas to our Crafting Successful Author & Illustrator Visits workshop, where our faculty mentors will help them grow their ideas into polished school presentations.  At the workshop, everyone will prepare for and make an actual school visit (with live children–gulp!).  Their presentation will be recorded. Later, back at our Retreat Center, the faculty will review the videos and give them a critique.

Take a look at these fabulous, work-in-progress ideas that will be polished and brought to life at our workshop.  Do any of the topics spark ideas for your own visit?

Elizabeth SteinglassElizabeth Steinglass
Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer
Coming June 4th from Wordsong

School Presentation:
“Let’s Pretend: A Poetry Writing Workshop”

To write a mask poem, a poet pretends to be someone or something else. Read, discuss, and write mask poems with poet Elizabeth Steinglass, author of Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer.
Soccerverse by Elizabeth Steinglass

Mylisa LarsenMylisa Larsen
If I Were A Kangaroo, illustrated by Anna Raff
Viking Books for Young Readers, 2017

How To Put Your Parents To Bed, illustrated by Babette Cole
Harpercollins, 2016

School Presentation:
“Facts + Fun”

Using word games and other techniques, Mylisa Larsen will work with children to take a group of facts and create new ways to write about the facts for their audience.
If I Were a Kangaroo by Mylisa Larsen

Pam Jones-NillPam Jones-Nill
David’s Flamingos, illustrated by Jeanne Conway
Spork, May 2018

School Presentation:
“Finding Inspiration”

Pam will share the true story of the 3 flamingos that inspired her to write the book. After a reading of the story, students will use their own imaginations to bring flamingos into their classroom.
David's Flamingos by Pam Jones-Nill

Rowena RaeRowena Rae
Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids: Her Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities and Experiments
Coming in 2020 from Chicago Review Press

School Presentation:
“Finding the Fun in Writing Nonfiction”

Science writer Rowena Rae will use her forthcoming book, Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids, to share with students the fun she had researching, writing and revising the manuscript for this nonfiction book. She will discuss how and where she gathers information, different ways to organize nonfiction ideas, tips for getting started on a piece of writing and continuing to the end of a first draft, and ways to revise and improve a draft to make it sparkle.
Rachel Carson by Rowena Rae

Shanda McCloskeyShanda McCloskey
DOLL-E 1.0
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018

Coming in September 2019 from DOLL-E 1.0
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

School Presentation:

Author-illustrator, Shanda McCloskey, loves to fly drones. In her research, she realized the possibilities are truly as big as the sky when it comes to the incredible work these little aerial machines do! Counting and measuring wildlife, search and rescue, and even firefighting are being transformed by drones! In addition to sharing about theses amazing drone uses, Shanda will read her book, T-BONE THE DRONE (the companion story to Shanda’s debut: DOLL-E 1.0) which further drives home the theme that these little flying fellas are becoming a mighty part of our team! And if time/space/rules allow, Shanda will demonstrate how-to-draw a drone, give a drone flying demo, and/or take a group photo (via drone) from above!

T-Bone the Drone by Shanda McCloskey

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