Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Secret of a Great Author Visit

What’s the secret of a great author visit? Preparation.

Of course, I need to be prepared. But so does the school community.

If students have read my books and are looking forward to meeting me, the day always goes better. The best visits of all happen when students have done meaningful projects related to the books and ideas I’ll be discussing.

Here are some great examples of project-based learning that students did in the days and weeks leading up to my visit at Pownal Elementary School in Pownal, Maine.

One classroom read Under the Snow and then created four lovely murals that show how animals discussed in the book survive in their winter environments. Fantastic!

In another classroom, students were learning to identify the main idea and supporting details in a text. After students spotted the main idea of Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs, their teacher wrote it on a piece of paper and hung it on the wall. Then students used words and pictures to highlight supporting details.

After reading No Monkeys, No Chocolate, Grade 3 students suggested creating a bulletin board showing plant and animal relationships in the cocoa tree’s rain forest home.

I especially love this detail, which comes equipped with a magnifying glass (on the far right). What a great idea!
Students in grade 5 practiced the readers theater script I wrote to accompany No Monkeys, No Chocolate and performed it for me just before I presented to them. They did an amazing job!

Thanks to these projects, students had some skin in the game. They had a deep understanding of the books before I even walked in the door. And not surprisingly, the day was a tremendous success.


  1. Truth. It takes more than just the author to create a good author visit.

  2. So true!! I just did an assembly of 450 K-2 kids which is quite large for that age group. It went really well because the librarian had prepared them, so they were all really engaged. Phew!

  3. I love the magnifying glass addition for the student 's bulletin board they created for No Monkey's No Chocolate. That is a great idea.