To Arrange for an Author Visit, Click Here
“I enjoy writing for children and love sharing my books with them. I speak to children as fellow writers. I try to demystify the writing process by explaining how my ideas come from everyday events, from feelings and fears, from the wonder I feel at the world. I try to empower children, to help them recognize the events and ideas in their lives so that they can use them for their stories. I show them my notebooks--the mess I make when I write, how I change my mind constantly, how I cross out and rewrite. I want to emphasize that grownups who write books are no different than they are. We struggle and change our words too. We don’t write perfectly the first time! I encourage children to tell their own stories without fear of failure. I emphasize the importance and pleasure of adding detail, action, metaphor and more to their own writing. In addition, I show the whole process of writing a book--from daydreaming to notebooks, to bigger notebooks, to sketches from the artists who illustrate my books, to printed sheet right off the press, to folded & gathered sheets, to binding and, finally, bound books. To me, the whole process is magical. I try to communicate that feeling of magic to children. I love books. I love writing. I love children. I communicate that enthusiasm to the children with whom I speak. My goal is, that after I leave, students will want to work on their own stories.”
What is the length and content of my Author Visit Program?
45-60 minute presentations, except for kindergarten which is usually shorter. Content is as above, except for kindergarten which is far simpler, with each presentation tailored to a particular grade depending on which particular books of mine they have read in advance of my visit. I show objects which have inspired me. With 2nd grade up, I also do a couple of exercises with the children to show them how they can use similes and metaphors in their writing, as I do in mine. I leave the last 10-15 minutes of each presentation for questions and for whatever children want to tell me about their writing or love of books. I do up to 3 presentations a day, plus signing, meeting and chatting with teachers, students, etc.
What do I need?
As intimate a space as possible, preferably the library. Because I bring many things with me to show to the children, I need to stay in one place and have the children come to me, rather than move from classroom to classroom. I need a large table--large enough to display all my books and to rest the things I want to show the children. I would love a glass of water or a cup of tea. If I’m speaking to a large group--over 75--I need a lapel microphone (I move around a lot). I prefer not to speak on a stage or platform. (I don’t like to be separated from the children). With large groups (75 or over) I can use slides for part of my presentation. I bring my slides in a carousel. I need the school to provide a slide projector, screen and a room that can be darkened and then quickly relit for the rest of my presentation.
Writers’ Workshop Option
A one or two-visit program in which each student begins an
original story in a workshop setting with me as their guide. The
text for these workshops is my picture book, Nothing Ever Happens on 90th
Street, a book which includes writing tips and will act as a
springboard for inspiration and a possible pattern for students’ own
stories. In advance of my visit, I ask that teachers read 90th
Street to all students.
In the workshop I emphasize the main ingredients of a good story and distribute a sheet called “Roni Schotter’s Recipe for Cooking Up a Good Story,” based, in part, on
This workshop is suitable for children in grades 3 and up. For grade 2 there is another option--a simpler workshop based on another of my books, Bunny’s Night Out in which students pattern a story after this story.
The same writing components are stressed here (as they are in my normal Author Visits) but on a simpler level.