Friday, March 18, 2016

Author Visit Prep

The season when authors visit schools en masse is just around the corner, and that means schools are busy getting ready. After all, the more students know about an author going into the visit, the more they will take away from the experience.
Reading and discussing my books
Identifying text features and text structures
Filling out a text structure worksheet
Brainstorming question to ask me
In mid-April, I’ll be spending two fun days with the fourth graders at Hampden Meadows Elementary School in Barrington, RI. I loved seeing photos—tweeted by teacher-librarian Melanie Roy (@hms_library, @mrsmelanieroy)of students reading and discussing three of my books, identifying the books' text features and structures, filling out a text structure worksheet, and brainstorming questions to ask me. At this point, the students know the books as well as I do.

Mrs. Roy also sent me a copy of the school’s library newsletter, which contains this fascinating list of the students’ thoughts.

What Fourth Graders Can Tell About Melissa Stewart by Reading Her Books

  • It's nonfiction but she weaves fun stuff into it so you don't get bored
  • She likes animals - she writes a lot about them and their features
  • She puts books in a kids' perspective and doesn't use big words we don't understand
  • She tells facts in a kid-friendly way
  • She converts animal facts (feather book) into something a human would do
  • She has a sense of humor - little worms in the Monkey book
  • She really wants you to learn something
  • You can tell she really likes to learn about animals
  • She's very detailed
  • There's always a bit of fun - jokes in the Dolphin book
  • She makes it good for girls and boys
  • Her books are short but there's a LOT of information
  • She does a lot of research
  • She really cares about nature
  • She's scientific
  • She made me learn something new which is awesome
  • She puts surprising things in with her facts
I was blown away by some of these comments. I was surprised by how much the students had learned about me from reading my books. Seriously, they’ve got me pegged.

I’m super excited to visit Hampden Meadows Elementary because I know the fourth graders are ready to ask me deep, probing questions about my work. And those questions will lead to a rich, intellectually-stimulating dialogue about the writing process and its challenges. Hampden Meadows here I come!


  1. We LOVED our Skype visit with you earlier this school year and still refer to what we learned. We start our next nonfiction unit in April and your name will come up again and again!

  2. Thanks, Erika. They are a great group of kids.

  3. This is fabulous. I need to share this with teachers. And the kids' comments are great.

  4. Alyson, Have you met Melanie Roy? She's terrific.