Category Archives: school author visits

Author Visits in Kelowna BC

Had fun talking about books, reading, writing and the whole publishing process to nearly 2,000 students in 10 schools over 5 days in Kelowna BC.

Very nice to receive teachers’ comments like this one:

Thank you so much for visiting Glenrosa Elementary. My students were already amazing little story tellers but your visit brought the whole process to life and we have been writing stories ever since.

And to see the kids producing such fun art based on books and inspired by Ted Harrison!

Author Visits

As a writer of books for children there is nothing more fun than to share my books with kids. Author visits are popular at schools across North America, but also at international schools. I have been lucky enough to travel to international schools across Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond.
I have made some life-long friends among teachers and librarians who share my love to literacy and travel.
Highlights include bringing books to nomad children in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, reading stories to children in Lahore, Pakistan, handing out books to children in Myanmar and many others.
Attached is an article about my recent visits to schools in Kenya and Ethiopia. I love the added bonus of learning about different cultures and now also write a travel blog:

Visiting international schools has led me to write books of a more international nature. My latests books include titles such as Families Around The World and School Days Around The World. Coming out in 2017 will be Birthdays Around The World as well as The Elephant Keeper, a book about my visit to an elephant orphanage in Zambia.

As I plan my next tour of schools in the Middle East, I often pinch myself and marvel at the fact that I am so lucky to be able to combine my passion for writing with my passion for travel.

International School Visits

This article was written for the newsletter of African International Schools. I am posting it below for those interested in reading it.

Have Books, Will Travel – Author Visits to International Schools in Africa
As the author of many books for children, I started conducting school visits a long time ago. Regular talks about my books and my writing process soon let to creating workshops for students on how they can apply my ideas to their own writing.
These writing workshops for kids, soon led to workshops for teachers – helping them to tap into ways that make writing a fun, exciting activity for students. 
And that, in turn, led to talks for parents about the importance of encouraging kids to be both readers and writers, and how to accomplish this.
After much travel across the USA and Canada to speak at schools and conferences, I was thrilled to be invited to my first international school. Word of mouth soon had me flying to China, Malaysia, Mongolia and many other countries. Working as an author at international schools is vastly different from doing school visits closer to home. It usually requires adjustment to a new climate and culture on top of long days in schools. No matter how exciting dinner with teachers is, doing it five days in a row after performing all day is exhausting. So I find that it takes a special kind of person to adapt to the demands and the excitement. I have, long ago, been bitten by the travel bug. Over the years I learned to ‘go with the flow’ at international schools and so I absolutely love this unique experience. 
Having spoken at the ECIS Conference in Europe, I was recently invited to work at international schools in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. What an amazing opportunity! I had dreamed of Africa for most of my life so I loved coming to the continent. The sights, sounds and smells were enchanting. I learned so much. I had no idea that people in Ethiopia celebrate an elaborate coffee ceremony each day, burning incense and roasting popcorn, too. First graders made books based on my book Families Around The World while I was able to share stories about nonfiction research with fifth graders. Other kids honed interviewing skills and we talked about books and illustrations all week long.
I was able to bring some 55 pounds of books for Ethiopia Reads, an innovative library program that brings literacy to children across the country.
In Kenya, I enjoyed conducting presentations and writing workshops to hundreds of elementary school students. The parents seemed as excited as their kids! The teachers even coordinated a wonderful Authors’ Brunch whereby third graders enjoyed a breakfast buffet while listening to the guest speaker as if they were attending a university lecture.
Being in Nairobi allowed me the enriching experience of visiting an orphanage in the nearby hills, Creation of Hope, started by a Canadian author. 
Sixth grade students wrote me letters, following my talks with them. Wonderful letters that demonstrate to me that author visits do have a lasting impact on kids’ attitude towards books. Aden writes:
“I was shocked to learn that it takes years to write a book. Your presentation gave me ideas on how I can be creative when I write!”
Ravi told me that “my previous small school only had one author visit in six years, so I am so glad that my school now offers things like this. Your book about libraries around the world (My Librarian is a Camel) shows me how lucky I am to have a school library.”
From Nairobi I flew, right along Mount Kilimanjaro, to Dar Es Salaam and into a very different, hot and muggy, climate. At the wonderfully enthusiastic school I worked with children on writing their own poetry and stories. Upper elementary students even formed a Poetry Slam Club following my visit. 

The students may have been excited following my presentations, but I was just as excited to have the opportunity to travel and work with teachers and kids all over world. Just because I write books. I count my blessings.

School Visits

I just returned from school visits to Surrey and Kelowna. Spoke to some 4,000 kids during 9 days. Tomorrow I’ll be in a Victoria school to speak to 8th graders about MY LIBRARIAN IS A CAMEL and MY SCHOOL IN THE RAIN FOREST.
Next school year (2011-2012) I will be in many schools across North America as well as international schools. In February 2012 I’m booked to speak at Wisconsin State Reading Conference. If you are in a school near Milwaukee and would like me to come, please let me know.