In addition to Skype Q&A sessions, I offer virtual Zoom presentations based on my in-person visits that include choral reading, a focus on historical thinking skills, environmental activism & writing activities around my nonfiction, informational fiction & historical fiction titles.
I've written books for all ages and on a variety of subjects and love to adapt my presentations to fit a wide range of needs, focusing on different books. I present to readers from Pre-K to 8th grade as well as educators, adult readers and writers, librarians, and families.
Here's a brief description of presentations by grade level. Guided writing activities may be added to all sessions.
Pre K-1 What Makes a Writer? (30 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 (40 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. This session can include writing aca writing activity around Apples to Oregon where I lead students through a fun activity of “writing a letter to a person of the past.”
3-5 History Must be Seen (35-45 min)
My presentation for students in grades 3-5 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.
5-8 Tell Your Story! (35-50 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 Great Trouble, Titanic, my WWII nonfiction and How I Became a Spy.
Writing activities may be added to all presentations! I do a variety of guided writing exercises tied into my books and also offer a separate writing workshop called Imagine the Past. Students write letters to people of the past, letters of gratitude around A LETTER TO MY TEACHER, and practice environmental activism with FOLLOW THE MOON HOME and BUTTERFLIES BELONG HERE.