Author Visits and Workshops

Visiting schools, bookstores and libraries or giving workshops is one of the nicest parts of being a children's author. I love the chance to be with kids and teachers again. Here's an idea of what I do.

Preschool-grade 2 - When I meet with preschool children, it is nice to have smaller groups of up to 30 youngsters. With older students, size doesn't matter. I try to adapt my program to the needs and wishes of the school. I tell how I came to write a book, how I "write from what I know" and how the children can use this technique in their own writing. I share the steps in creating a book and show them galleys and proofs.

Picture Books

We All Went on Safari. I share true-to-life photographs, taken by my husband, of each animal mentioned in the book. Several children hold the pictures as I read the text. Everyone learns a few Swahili greetings and together we chant the numbers in both English and Swahili.

We're Sailing to Galapagos. Using a map or globe, I show the children where these islands are located and how they were formed. Again, some students hold photographs of real animals that live on the islands. A verse between stanzas allows all the children to sing along with me as I read the book.

We're Riding on a Caravan. I explain a bit about the ancient Silk Road and show the children where the story takes place. I have modern-day photographs of the towns along the route and several children hold these as I share the story.There is a refrain that everyone chants.
Off We Go to Mexico. Sharing this story with children is a perfect opportunity to learn a little Spanish. As I read, we practice a few words from the text. Children hold real-life photos and we chant "Off We Go to Mexico" between the verses.
We're Sailing Down the Nile. We climb aboard a felucca and sail down the world's longest river, stopping to visit ancient and modern sights of Egypt. I share some history, photographs and my experience in visiting this exotic country. The children are part of this presentation too.

Grades 3, 4 and 5 - I tell how I came to write nonfiction books, about the similarities and differences between writing fiction and nonfiction and how the students can use these techniques for their own stories.

The Colonial Series

For these six books, I describe 'writing to a recipe' and how I had to make the text fit the publisher's formula. I share the interesting time I had doing research and tell something about each of the real people I chose for the stories. I show proofs of the books and read at least one of them.

Workshops

I have given workshops for the New England Reading Association, Connecticut Reading Conference, City of New York's Department of Education, the Reading Institute at Cape Cod Community College, Christopher Newport University, The College of William and Mary and the School of Education, Monmouth University. In each case, my presentation has centered around the theme, Teaching with Trade Books. I have used my years as a classroom teacher and my love of children's books to implement this. Another theme, A Multicultural Medley, gives teachers background and lesson plans for using my books in the classroom. Again, I am willing to adapt my presentation to the needs of the audience. I enjoy sharing my ideas with college students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Photo of Laurie at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Center, New York

Libraries and Bookstores

For these appearances, I adjust my program to fit the size of the group in attendance. Sometimes it is possible to incorporate children from a nearby school. This makes for the most successful story time. In any case, I am always happy to share my books.

Each of these offerings is quite informal and fun (I hope) for the kids. I try to leave plenty of time for their questions. Please feel free to contact me for details and fees at laurie@lauriekrebs.com

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