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Preparing for a Visit


Once we have agreed that I will come to your school, I will send you a packet of materials which will help you to prepare the students for my visit. The packet will include a large selection of reproducible activity sheets (some of which can be downloaded in advance from my site), autographed bookmarks, and “just-for-fun” projects, for both primary and intermediate grade levels. You can use these activities, all of which involve the use of my books, as you get ready for my visit.

In the meantime, the following will serve as a general guideline for your preparations.


I have found that the more prepared students and teachers are for my visit, the more they get out of my programs. The best preparation for both teachers and students is to read, read, read! I highly recommend that you begin reading at least two months before my visit. Read as many of my titles as possible. If you can, extend your reading to connected topics, such as animals that appear in my books, places where my books are set, cultures portrayed in my books. Look, too, for books about writing, illustrating, and publishing.


First, talk about my upcoming visit – children often don’t realize that a real live person is responsible for a book! Share any information you have about me. Discuss the books you are reading. Discuss the process of writing and making visual art, and the process of printing and publishing a book.


Teachers and students have created all kinds of projects pertaining to my visits: oral and written reports, stories, poems, newspapers, songs, word games, mazes, quiz games, graphs, charts, surveys, math problems, and science experiments; skits, raps, plays, musical performances, and contests; murals, bulletin board decorations, posters, flags, bookmarks, illustrations, banners, and signs; dioramas, puppets, constructions, books, quilts, costumes, and outdoor decorations. Projects not only generate excitement and enthusiasm for my coming visit, but are also very effective in informing, familiarizing, and readying students for the educational content of my programs. I have found that this kind of active involvement among teachers and students maximizes the greatest possible benefit from an author/illustrator visit.

Activity Sheets...

Download Printable VersionsYou can download PDF''s of sample activity sheets here.

Sample Activity Sheet #1
Sample Activity Sheet #2
Sample Activity Sheet #3

Having trouble downloading these files? Click here to download Adobe Reader

What I need for a visit

Powerpoint Projection Equipment
I usually bring a CD or flash drive to use with your audio/visual equipment. We will work out details after you have booked a visit.

Lavalier (Lapel) Microphone
I need to use both hands while drawing. I also need to be able to walk around, talk to my audience, and draw, all at the same time.

Blackboard or Tackboard on Wheels
These work well as large easels on which to tack or tape big pieces of drawing paper. A regular easel is usually too small for large groups to see clearly. If you do not have a moveable blackboard, a fixed blackboard or a wall can be used.

Big Paper
Most schools have large rolls of white or light-colored paper. I will use three or four pieces, each one long enough to fill the blackboard or wall space length-wise, for each program.

Scissors, Tape, Thumbtacks
These will be used for cutting the drawing paper, and taping or tacking it to the blackboard or other surface. It is best to have the blackboard or tackboard and paper up and ready to use before I arrive.

What I Will Bring

I will bring my own markers, crayons, and chalks.

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