Deborah Hopkinson

Award Winning Author of Fiction & Nonfiction for Children & Teens

School Visits and Library Appearances

I enjoy pre­sent­ing to stu­dents from pre‑K through mid­dle school. As the author of dozens of books, from pic­ture books to long form non­fic­tion for old­er read­ers, I try to tai­lor each ses­sion to your school or library’s need. Dur­ing March I often do a Women’s His­to­ry Month. Oth­er themes include envi­ron­men­tal activism around Earth Day, World War II, and Think­ing Like a Historian.

Depend­ing on your school’s bud­get, we can com­bine grade lev­els for few­er ses­sions or do one all-school ses­sion. Ses­sions may also be on mul­ti­ple days — or even sched­uled at inter­vals through­out the aca­d­e­m­ic year.

Ses­sions con­sist of an intro, a shared Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion which includes choral read­ing for younger stu­dents, and Q&A. We’ve had great suc­cess with indi­vid­ual class­rooms join­ing in to ask ques­tions. Times are approx­i­mate and usu­al­ly we sim­ply con­tin­ue until there are no fur­ther ques­tions, so please allow for 10–15 min­utes between ses­sions when sched­ul­ing. I’ve also done pre­sen­ta­tions fol­lowed by sep­a­rate writ­ing work­shops or a com­bined presentation/writing activ­i­ty ses­sion. My rates are rea­son­able and designed to make an author vis­it pre­sen­ta­tion read­i­ly accessible.

For in-per­son school, library, and con­fer­ences appear­ances please con­tact Authors Out Loud (

View my Speak­ing Pro­file at Authors Out Loud.

School Visits and Library Appearances

Times are approx­i­mate and grade lev­el break­downs are approx­i­mate and can be tai­lored to indi­vid­ual learn­ing com­mu­ni­ties. All ses­sions include addi­tion­al time for Q&A as needed.


Be a His­to­ry Detec­tive (all school, 30 min plus Q&A)

For an all school pre­sen­ta­tion, I do a gen­er­al intro­duc­tion and focus pri­mar­i­ly on pic­ture books that will appeal to mul­ti­ple grade lev­els, such as Sky Boys, A Let­ter to My Teacher, and The Sto­ry of a Sto­ry. I designed this for schools with a lim­it­ed bud­get that want to get stu­dents excit­ed about read­ing and writing.


What Makes a Writer?  (app. 25 min plus Q&A)

What makes a writer? Read­ers make writ­ers! In this pre­sen­ta­tion for younger stu­dents, I encour­age teach­ers to fol­low along with the sim­pli­fied read-aloud slides as we tell the sto­ry togeth­er. Books that work well for this are Girl Won­der and Abe Lin­coln Cross­es a Creek. Since these are both his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, my pre­sen­ta­tion includes slides of the actu­al creek where Austin Gol­la­her saved Abe and pho­tos of Alta Weiss, base­ball player


Imag­ine the Past (app. 30 min plus Q&A)

Where do sto­ry ideas come from? In this ses­sion, the focus is on how we all get ideas the same way: from things that hap­pen to us, books, films, our imag­i­na­tions. I intro­duce his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, non­fic­tion, and “hybrid” pic­ture books includ­ing Sky Boys, But­ter­flies Belong Here, Fol­low the Moon Home, and Only One.


His­to­ry Must be Seen (app 35 min plus Q&A)

The focus for these curi­ous read­ers is on his­tor­i­cal think­ing skills, includ­ing sourc­ing, con­tex­tu­al­iza­tion, cor­rob­o­ra­tion, and close read­ing. We look togeth­er at my mid­dle grade his­tor­i­cal fic­tion title, The Great Trou­ble, and use those skills to re-vis­it Lon­don dur­ing the 1854 cholera out­break. Oth­er fea­tured titles include my non­fic­tion series, The Dead­liests: The Dead­liest Dis­eases Then and Now, The Dead­liest Hur­ri­canes Then and Now, and The Dead­liest Fires Then and Now.  A Dead­liest study guide is avail­able for down­load, and each title has its own stu­dent writ­ing focus.


Tell Your Sto­ry! (app 35–40 min plus Q&A)

For mid­dle school read­ers, I often focus on my longer non­fic­tion books includ­ing the Sib­ert hon­or title, Titan­ic: Voic­es from the Dis­as­ter, and my books about World War II: D-Day: The World War II Inva­sion that Changed His­to­ry (paired with How I Became a Spy), We Had to be Brave, and We Must Not For­get. Out in 2023: Race Against Death: The Great­est POW Res­cue of WWII.

Be a History Detective
Be a His­to­ry Detective

Writing Workshops and Activities

Writ­ing Work­shops may be stand-alone or incor­po­rat­ed into ses­sions. These usu­al­ly require a bit more coor­di­na­tion, since for a vir­tu­al work­shop I’m not avail­able to walk around to offer encour­age­ment, but it can work well. Here are some of the themed work­shops and activ­i­ties I’ve used, which can be adapt­ed for var­i­ous grade levels.

A Let­ter to My Teacher

A guid­ed thank you let­ter to a teacher, coach, librar­i­an, or any­one stu­dents would like to thank.

Apples to Oregon

Here, we write a let­ter to a per­son of the past. What’s the same in our lives between 1847 and now? What’s different?

Beat­rix Pot­ter and the Unfor­tu­nate Tale of a Bor­rowed Guinea Pig

Oops! Beat­rix bor­rowed a guinea pig from her neigh­bor and it didn’t go so well. Here stu­dents use their imag­i­na­tions to com­pose a let­ter of apology.

Fol­low the Moon Home

In this guid­ed activ­i­ty, we pre­view the book then stu­dents imag­ine writ­ing a let­ter to a local busi­ness to ask for sup­port for their sea tur­tle con­ser­va­tion activities.

The Sto­ry of a Story

There are prompts actu­al­ly includ­ed at the back of this book, which form the basis for a sto­ry about a chickadee.

Titan­ic: Voic­es from the Disaster

One of my favorite work­shops for fourth grade and up, stu­dents learn about the Col­ly­er fam­i­ly on the Titan­ic, then write a let­ter after the event from Char­lotte Col­ly­er to her husband’s par­ents, imag­in­ing what the dis­as­ter was like for her, her hus­band, and their daugh­ter. At the close, we read her actu­al letter.

We Had to be Brave / We Must Not Forget

This activ­i­ty for old­er read­ers is based on the life expe­ri­ences of Ruth David, one of the Holo­caust sur­vivors I was priv­i­leged to get to know dur­ing the research of these books. Ruth escaped on the Kinder­trans­port; this activ­i­ty asks stu­dents to imag­ine her writ­ing to her par­ents and two youngest sib­lings left behind in Germany.