THERE IS NO CHARGE TO BE LISTED on this blog, however I do ask for a reciprocal link to Cool School Visits, at www.coolschoolvisits.com . (Check it out! I offer lots of free advice about doing school visits!) Sorry, except for a few close friends, I can only list you in your home state.
MY DEFINITION OF "TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED"...If you're with a publisher you know I'll recognize, write to me and I'll add you. If you have any doubts, CLICK THIS LINK and scroll down to a list approved on SCBWI's "Published and Listed" (PAL) list. If you see your publisher on this list, write to me. If not, then you're with a publisher too obscure to be added. I don't want these author lists to become so lengthy that the site loses its original intent: to save educators time when "shopping" for an author.

Singing Author Visit


I enjoyed a terrific visit to Coventry Elementary in Yorktown, VA, last week. What a great school! Here's a video of the kids singing along with my "Storytime Boogie." I love it when they know the song in advance. (I always send a CD in advance of my visit.) But even if they don't know it, they're still bouncing and bobbing to the music in no time.

In this video, it's cute the way all the heads are swaying to the lullaby at the beginning of the song, then start bopping when the music speeds up.

This is a song I wrote a few years ago with a different title and lyrics. But when I started doing school visits, I rewrote it as "The Storytime Boogie," a song which encourages bedtime reading. I also created a music video of the song which you can view on YouTube, HERE. And, of course, you can visit my website by clicking my name below.

"Storytime Boogie" ©2006 by Kim Norman

JOIN A SHOW-BIZ SCIENCE PROJECT


Visiting-author-of-the-day, Vicki Cobb, well-known science author, has created an unprecedented multi-media project that you and your students can join. It combines a book, with YouTube type videos and the Web.

Just for fun, check out these irresistible one-minute videos HERE. The scripts for these videos come from Vicki’s new book: We Dare You! Hundreds Of Fun Science Bets Challenges And Experiments You Can Do At Home. So far, she has made only 25 videos out of a potential 286 in the book. Vicki invites her readers to participate in this project by making videos doing tricks from the book and sending them to her for editing and posting on the web. Downloadable information on how to join this project can be found HERE. She is asking the public to help create a library of videos for teachers to use in the classroom nd families to use at home to get kids interested in science and reading. And if you go the extra step to join the project, your kids not only learn science but get to star in their own little show. It’s a win-win for everyone!

I've used Vicki's books in my own home and at our home school co-op, as well as -- I confess -- checking out her I Face the Wind a dozen times from the library as a mentor text when I was considering writing nonfiction. Her books are superb.

Kim Norman

Visiting Author of the Day: JULIE BOWE!!



I'm just back from vacation, so a little late celebrating a new "book birthday." Julie Bowe's 2nd book, MY NEW BEST FRIEND, was released on August 1st. But here's a birthday wish, a few days late: Happy Birthday, Ida May!

To learn more about Wisconsin author Julie Bowe, her author visits and her Ida May books, click HERE.

Kim Norman

Author visit trailers

I've seen talk lately about book trailers, author trailers, you-name-it trailers. Here's a trailer I created a few months ago, a little "Author Visit Show-and-Tell"...


Made it myself in that cool iMovie program on my Mac. Kind of fun being a pretend director. And here's the song with which I often close my younger elementary school author programs, "The Storytime Boogie," which promotes bedtime reading:


Happy bedtime reading!!

Kim Norman

Alex Flinn's dream author visit

Today, Florida author Alex Flinn shares an example of a dream author visit:

In the perfect author visit (and I've had some), groups would be anywhere from 30-125 students, all of whom have read at least one of my books. If possible, they would also have self-selected to be at the presentation. Presentations would be scheduled for neither the first nor last period of the day. All of the above makes for maximum audience participation. There would be some time set aside, either a writing workshop or author lunch, for the kids who are really into reading and/or writing.

My personal favorite school was in Upstate New York. I visited several years ago and met with groups groups of 75 students, each of whom had read several of my books. They also had a lunch for teachers and students to meet me, and it was at this lunch that I got the idea for one of my books, DIVA. I also spoke at an evening library presentation for "The Great New York Read-aloud." Three years later, I visited this same school, spoke with two more self-selected groups of 75 as well as a roundtable of girls who had been involved in domestic violence incidents.


I've had many good school visits and a few bad ones. The common thread for the good ones was that I felt that every student at the presentation wanted to be there. Usually, but not always, this meant that the students had self-selected to be there. The few exceptions to this were schools where there was a large remedial reading population who liked my books. The worst visit BY FAR was one where a well-intentioned public library district had me go to a school for two full days without ascertaining that the students had ever heard of or read my books. They hadn't. They would have spent their money better to have me go one day and spent the second day's money on the books. I've had visits set up by public libraries, which worked, but it was because they made sure the kids had read the books.

###

Kim butting back in again:
I suppose that's one of the differences between presentations by picture book authors and YA authors. Since a YA is too long to read during the presentation, it really is imperative that students be familiar with the author's book/books before she arrives. Whereas, as a picture book author, I have appeared at many schools where the kids have not yet read my book. Heck, I started doing school visits even before my book came out. I figured, what I lacked in publication credits, I made up for in stage experience. (Yup, that's me, the "nun" on the left. How I'd love to wear that costume at a school visit some day!)

Also complicating the reading-in-advance issue is that younger students are fairly easily impressed. The really young ones greet a visiting puppet as a celebrity. So just being told that you're an author is enough to command respect from the grammar school set. Not true of older students, I'm guessing. If they've never heard of you OR your book, they're much more likely to tune you out.

Kim Norman

Toni's Perfect Day

Author Toni Buzzeo (Maine) steps in to share the first post in a new series I'm calling THE PERFECT AUTHOR VISIT. The first few posts in the series will describe perfect visits from the author's perspective. We'll hear from Dr. Fred Bortz, (Pennsylvania); Alex Flinn, (Florida); Rukhsana Kahn,(Canada); Marianne Mitchell, (Colorado); and Jane Yolen, (New York). Later, I hope to add similar posts from an educator's perspective. Here's Toni:


This visit happened in New York state in April. It was so wonderful, so much like the visits I used to have at my school when I was the host and when NCLB hadn't darkened the door of the educational landscape.

1. I was hired a year in advance (possibly more).
2. The librarian kept in touch with me during the intervening months, but not needlessly so, just with important questions.
3. She and the other librarians took me out to dinner and we had a fun and relaxing time BEFORE the day of her school, so I felt like I already knew her.
4. When I arrived, I had some time to get set up and make sure the technology was working (and plenty of people to help me with that).
5. The sessions were held in a very comfortable auditorium with excellent acoustics and a good wireless mic.
6. The faculty had a wonderful breakfast for me and the SUPERINTENDENT came and stayed.
7. I had some one-on-one time to chat with the SUPERINTENDENT after the breakfast.
8. Four fifth graders arrived to take me on a tour of the school to show me ALL OF THE STUDENT PROJECTS ABOUT MY BOOKS DISPLAYED ON BOTH FLOORS OF THE ENTIRE SCHOOL!!

Jacket Art ©2008 by Sachiko Yoshikawa
9. The superintendent stayed for my K session and then spoke to me afterwards.
10. The PRINCIPAL attended two of my sessions and joined us for a lunch of spinach salad the kitchen had made especially for us.
11. The PR DIRECTOR for the district came to hear the entire session for 1-2 grade.
12. EVERY fifth grader had done a research essay on ME!! They asked the most interesting and intelligent questions during Q&A.
13. The books for signing were well-organized and there were LOTS of them.
14. One of the third grade teachers made me Mrs. Skorupski glasses and my host librarian bought me a beautiful lighthouse charm.
15. Kids wrote me letters both before and after my visit.

What an amazing school and an amazing day in this era of "No Child Left Behind." When I told them how rare it was to find a school that felt it had this sort of time for author visit preparations, the principal and the librarian were astounded. They'd always done it this way and say they always will. A year long focus on literacy and learning via an indepth author study! Woooohoooo! Everything Jane Kurtz and I espoused in TERRIFIC CONNECTIONS!


And now moi, (Kim Norman), butting in to add:

So everybody, here is another component to a perfect author visit: Be sure you're following Toni Buzzeo or Jane Kurtz. LOL! (Because my Hampton, Virginia visit following Toni's visit last year went well, too.) Obviously, Jane & Toni are good leaders, encouraging a reading of their how-to book, TERRIFIC CONNECTIONS, before they come.

Coincidentally, at a school I visited a few weeks ago, Jane Kurtz had been there the year before. So at my "Follow-Jane-Kurtz" visit, the principal sat in on both presentations. That has never, ever happened before. Sometimes the principals don't even pop in to meet me. (Generally, I've found that visits go better when they do. That seems to indicate a higher level of involvement from the whole staff, although I understand that sometimes schedules don't allow time for the principal to get away from his/her obligations.)

Also at this school, the book sale & signing was very organized, and they had sold more books in advance than any school the whole year.

So, thanks to Toni and Jane, I had a near perfect visit, too!
If you'd like to see my author visit video, click HERE. It will give you an idea of my presentation style. I generally like to close my presentations for the younger students with "The Storytime Boogie," a song that encourages bedtime reading. Music video of "The Storytime Boogie" HERE.

Kim Norman

Visiting Author of the Day: TONI BUZZEO!


I usually upload an image of an author's website when I select them as Visiting Author of the Day, but I wanted to share a new podcast in praise of Toni Buzzeo's wonderful book, Fired Up With Reading. After you listen to the podcast on Just One More Book, (and have probably listened to a few others; that's such a great collection of children's book related podcasts, I can never stop at just one!) you can pop over to Toni's incredibly informative site by clicking HERE.

Kim Norman

Visiting Author of the Day:


I'm happy to say that New Jersey author Lisa Mullarkey recently booked a visit as a direct result of a school finding her on this website. Yay!! That's exactly why I created the site -- to help schools & libraries make connections with nearby authors and illustrators.

Lisa also generously went online and bought a copy of my book to donate to the school, which she'll be visiting in June. What a sweetie! I mailed her a bookplate inscribed to the students.

To learn more about an author visit from Lisa, (she's comfortably close to other eastern states, as well), visit her website HERE.

Kim Norman

Visiting Author of the Day:



It's still poetry month for a few more days, right? So today my Visiting Author of the Day is Karen Jo Shapiro. She's not only a visiting author, she's a visiting poet. Her spot-on parodies of famous classic poems are brilliant! Karen is in North Carolina. To learn more about her books and an author visit, click THIS LINK. (Or scroll down to North Carolina, in the left-hand column.)

Kim Norman

Visiting Author of the Day:


Can't promise I'll add a new featured visiting author every day... in fact, I can guarantee I'll be very undisciplined about it. So maybe this should be called "Visiting Author of the Week"... or maybe even "of the MONTH!"

Regardless of what it's called, Sandra Friend's enticing new page outlining her author visits seemed like the perfect kick-off to this feature. I mean, who WOULDN'T want to know more about flesh-eating plants or "haboobs?" (I'm such a 3rd grader at heart. I've looked up the word, and it STILL makes me giggle!)

Sandra lives in Florida. Visit her school visit page HERE.
Kim Norman

Thanks, Kevin!

I'm so proud to share this fabulous drawing Kevin O'Malley did for me! Long story, but the short version is, I bought an extra copy of GIMME CRACKED CORN & I WILL SHARE, a book he had dedicated to me. (I had helped with the title.) Scheduling complications kept him from being able to autograph it at the Va. State Reading Assoc. conference, so -- LUCKY ME! -- he did a drawing for me instead. How cool is that?!

I'm terrible about getting around to framing things, so I'm resolved to do that before it gets dusty, which happens with most of our family photos.

Kim Norman

Author visit with enthusiastic 5th graders!

Is that a great photo, or what? These are the wrists of 5th graders from Sedgefield Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. Yesterday I spoke to them about writing, touching on skills they can incorporate into their SOLs (Standards of Learning tests) which are coming up next week. Susan Quenville, Sedgefield's reading specialist, was a gracious hostess. I also enjoyed meeting other staff members as well as Principal Patricia Tilghman, who was warm and welcoming.

While I love the sweetness of younger students, I also like working with older students like this because we can really get into details. So we did my "Verbal-loons" activity, (lots of laughs there while -- I HOPE -- learning the importance of choosing exciting verbs). They also enjoyed a peek at my Evil Inner Editor, and then they created wrist bands with the initials "WCTW," which stands for "Writers Choose Their Words."

I first put together this lesson plan for John B. Cary Elementary in Hampton, Virginia, a couple of weeks ago. Blogged about that HERE. Librarian Mel Black says the slogan ("Writers Choose Their Words") seems to have really stuck with her students -- although it probably doesn't hurt that she has reinforced it since my visit, using her cool SmartBoard. Sedgefield has one, too. What a marvelous teaching device!

All I can say is, I love my new part-time job!

Kim

Hope this helps!

I've visited innumerable schools where teachers have told me their search to hire an author would have been greatly simplified if there were a state-by-state list somewhere. Well, here it is!

This is a work in progress, so I hope you'll forgive me as I add to the list. If you are an author with a traditionally published children's book, please contact me and I'll see about adding your listing under the state in which you live.

Likewise, if you are a teacher or librarian who has hired a great author and you don't see them listed here, please let me know about them and I'll add them as well.

No charge to ANYONE to be listed on this site, by the way. Just trying to simplify the process for everyone.

Email me with additions/corrections at:
kimnorman (insert @ sign) charter.net
Or visit my website and email me from there.
Thanks for stopping by!

Kim Norman