It's great to get thank you letters from teachers and librarians. Here's one from my recent visit to Kentucky:
Recent letters from 6th graders:
"I never knew kolera was so bad and that people risked their lives to stand up to the Nazis. I also think your dogs are adorable."
"I haven't read any of your books before, but I want to read the book about the guy who punched holes in German cars (Courage & Defiance). I like reading about people who fight for things they care about (freedom and other important stuff), partly because I'm like that myself."
"Who knew I would be interested in historical fiction? I usually am not interested in any books that aren't fiction or fantasy, but the way you talked about your stories made me want to read most of your books. Thanks a lot for coming."
Welcome poster from students at Tumalo Elementary in Redmond, OR.
"My students loved the presentation. They were very interested and impressed as Deborah described the research process. Many commented on how interesting it was to reveal the past. They also said that this inspired them to dig deeper for their own papers." (Grade 6 teacher)
Art by students at W. G. Coleman Elementary in The Plains, VA.
"Really nice and funny in her presentation. She used lots of details and descriptions when she shared her books. Our favorite book was Abe Lincoln Crosses the Creek! She took questions." (From 2nd Graders)
Since I've written books for all ages, I'm able to adapt my presentations to fit a wide range of audiences. I most frequently present to students from Pre-K to 8th grade as well as to educators, librarians, and families. I also give writing workshops for students and adults. My honorarium for school visits includes up to four sessions a day, and I can also do two "half-day" visits where nearby schools share me for a day. I often visit several schools in one district so that travel expenses can be shared.
Smaller groups make it possible to have a more interactive session, with lots of Q&A. But I know that's not always possible, and I'm comfortable with large groups (200+) or all-school presentations.
Pre-2 What Makes a Writer? (35 min)
Kids want to know: How do writers get ideas? In my sessions for K-2, we explore where ideas come from, and how similar the writing process is for all writers. The presentation is humorous and fast-paced, with an emphasis on the importance of reading (we see lots of dogs reading). I include interactive storytelling. The message: Readers Make Writers!
2/3 Imagine the Past (50 min)
My presentation for 3rd graders (and sometimes 2nd) introduces students to research and history through picture books such as Sky Boys and Stagecoach Sal. his session can include a writing activity around Apples to Oregon where I lead students through a fun activity of “writing a letter to a person of the past.”
4th/5th History Must Be Seen (60 min with writing)
My presentation for students in grades 4th/5th explores how illustrators and authors research and revise historical fiction and nonfiction. Using work-in-progress slides and photographs, I show students how details and research add vitality to stories. I also share how investigators like John Snow relied on primary sources for his work on the 1854 London cholera epidemic in The Great Trouble.
5th-8th Everyone’s Story Matters (50-60 min)
This session is designed to share my own passion for history and also help readers think more about writing and research. I hope to encourage an interest in historical fiction and nonfiction, while also sharing research tips to help students be successful in writing papers in middle school, high school, and beyond. We talk about the research process for The Great Trouble, Titanic, and Courage & Defiance, Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in WWII Denmark.
Writing Activities & Separate Writing Workshops
Depending on the size, available time, and age levels of each group, I normally include writing activities with students in grades 3-5 as part of the regular session. I am also happy to arrange separate 45-min writing workshops with students 4-8 grade.
To contact me about author visits, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.