Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Behind the Books: School Visit Season

I’ve been doing school visits for more than a decade and I’ve seen some big changes over the years. Up until about 5 years ago most schools preferred to hire fiction authors. But now, my friends who write fiction are complaining that school visit invitations are few and far between.

My experience has been just the opposite, I’ve been doing more school visits than ever before. In 2011, I did 40 days of programming for more than 25,000 students. And 2012 is off to a strong start.

Until recently, most school visits were in October, April, and May. But now they’re sprinkled throughout the school year. And instead of scheduling these programs a year or more in advance, schools are contacting me just a month or two before the visit.

I don’t really mind that school visits are being set up much closer to the visit date. And for the most part, it’s fine that they’re interspersed throughout the year (except for when snow becomes an issue). And most of all, I’m delighted to have a steady supply of invitations.

The photos you see here were taken at an elementary school in Marlborough, MA. I had a great time with the K-4 students. We talked about butterflies and birds and what animals do under the snow in winter.

I’m looking forward to a busy spring. Nothing inspires me so much as meeting with kids and getting their views on the books I write.


  1. and we have LOVED your virtual visits - maybe someday you can come to Georgia for an in person visit!

  2. So excited that non-fiction is getting the notice it deserves! Kids are always wanting to know "how things work", and i'm sure your school visits are as entertaining and informative as your "Friday Fun" blog posts!

  3. Interesting! Thanks for posting this, Melissa. I've been suspecting nonfiction authors might be getting more invitations lately (a consequence of NCLB? weak economy? wanting a visit to do double duty?), but I wasn't sure. Whatever the reason, I'm happy to hear more students are hearing from nonfiction authors! :)

  4. Kathy, I'm really hoping we can manage to meet soon.

    Thanks for the kind words, Annie. It's a great time for nonficiton.

    I'm not sure about the reason either, Laurie. But the kids and the teachers seem to have a great time--and learn something, too. I love the chance to interact with my readers.