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Tips for a perfect author visit

How to arrange a visit >>


PREPARE THE KIDS   •   PREPARE THE KIDS   •   PREPARE THE KIDS

Even five minutes of effort, a few days or weeks ahead of my visit, will make a world of difference. It will create students who ask AMAZING questions, who listen and respond, and who get so much more out of my visit.

Here are some suggestions for getting this done:

  1. Booktalk — or have a local bookseller booktalk — the books. It’s amazing how much enthusiasm a two-minute summary can generate. (Warning: if a teacher isn’t interested in this brief intrusion on classroom time, the author visit will probably flop.)

  2. Circulate extra copies in the classroom or library. I’ve known school librarians who draw from nearby public libraries, and others who borrow students’ books. If you’re really hard up, contact me directly and I’ll see what I can do.

Read the first chapter or first page aloud.

• Or play an audio excerpt:

         Dairy Queen >>

         The Off Season >>

         Front and Center >>

         Princess Ben >>

  1. Brainstorm questions. It’s amazing how much this engages students. One question scrawled on a scrap of paper, and suddenly they’re all ears. If students seem shy, collect the questions and have me, or you, read them.

  2. Create a classroom or library display of my favorite books. Kids love to know what I used to read when I was their age, what I’m reading now (especially fantasy), and other books my readers like.

  3. Offer my books for sale ahead of time. Often the PTO will manage this as a fundraising activity. Local bookstores love to assist. Houghton Mifflin also sells book direct; call 1-800-225-3362 for more information.

  4. Equally important: Alert students to the sale! Few students carry money. Flyers or emails home will remind them (well, some of them) to bring in cash, or prepay as required. Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching a student stand empty-handed as her friends get their copies autographed.

  5. Offer my books for sale after the event, when students have just heard all about these books and now can’t wait to read them. If you ship me a box of books, I’d be absolutely delighted to sign and personalize them and ship them back. Or email me students’ names and I’ll mail you an envelope of signed bookplates.

Explore this website for a taste of what I do. Good starting points:

         About the author

         Frequently Asked Questions

         Interviews

         Dairy Queen home page, as that’s the book most students know.

Have I made my point clearly enough? Student preparation is critical for an educational, inspirational author visit.

For even more ideas, visit Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s author-appearance website.

(The picture above is me at the Browns River Middle School in Jericho, Vermont. Because all the kids in book club had completed Dairy Queen, I got to read the ending! Many thanks to Joyce Babbitt for the photo and the event.)

I love your books soo much!!!!!!! Let’s say I'm not the greatest reader...... but it took me 3 days to finish your books! I love them! You visited to our school today and you are my favorite author and I was so excited because I got 4 of my friends reading your books just because I couldn't stop talking about them!


- Miranda