Talking with young people about being a writer is one of the joys of being an author. During a typical school author visit, I discuss where I get my ideas and suggest where students can look for their own. We talk about the different ways that I do the research for my books and I offer tips on how students can make their own research projects successful. I show them how I organize my materials and how doing so facilitates the writing process. Word choice is important, so I also discuss how wise word choices help a writer develop his or her own “voice.” Depending on the age of the students, I offer suggestions on how to take notes and how to revise.
I bring lots of visuals with me, including fossils, rocks, manuscripts, and a color separation which shows how a picture is printed. Groups of up to 125 students work best because they can sit on the floor, close to me, and see the items I have to show them.
Because I have written many different kinds of science books, I can easily tailor my talks to address specific topics in the science curriculum, provided you let me know ahead of time which topics each grade is studying.
During a typical school visit, I will present up to four sessions. Each session lasts about an hour, which can be modified to accommodate kindergartners. If a school visit requires an overnight stay, for an additional honorarium I can present an evening program to parents (and children who want to come).