i believe that children’s books can create community connections. i am happy to facilitate conversations about stories, identity, empathy and community in schools, libraries, and bookstores, and at conferences and festivals.

school visits

I am available to give workshops and presentations on how stories create connections. I can speak intimately with a class, or in a larger assembly setting. I try to make my workshops Common-Core friendly, as well as tailored to the specific grade level. I try to make my workshops fun and inspiring, creative and interactive too! Workshops include:

  • The Four Pillars of Perseverance: passion, grit, self-discipline and curiosity: an interactive presentation about what it takes to make a life out of the thing you love to do. I take kids through the process of writing my debut novel as a way to explore the characteristics all of us must nurture in ourselves to be successful and content.
  • Landscape and Literature: a writing workshop about the importance of place in creating characters and their stories. we make maps of a place that feels like home (neighborhood, house, room), identify experiential landmarks on that map and then, using sensory details, create stories based on it all.
  • Walking In My Shoes, Walking In Your Shoes: a fun (and funny) writing workshop that explores self, empathy and bridging the space to other using our actual shoes. (paper towel or disinfectant spray needed for the desks!)
  • Ecological Writing (co-taught): this workshop explores how teachers can help their students reconnect to their voices and agency. The notion of the ecological model is inspired by the life of a forest—relational, chaotic, intertwined, inside-out, ever-changing—as opposed to the more standard architectural model of writing—pre-designed, outside-in, concrete, static, finite, separate. The ecological model of writing focuses on teaching writing skills, but also works to empower students to locate and write in their own voices, from their own lives.Teachers and students are invited to bring their whole selves into an interactive workshop where they respond in writing to a series of images, texts and dialogue. Rather than seeking to reveal the meaning of any particular work, ecological writing teaches the creation of meaning through dialogue.

A full day’s visit includes up to four programs of approximately 60 minutes each. Sponsor’s expenses include honorarium, transportation, lodging and meals. Neighboring schools can arrange to share a day and split the cost. I am happy and grateful to sign and personalize books before or after workshops.

libraries, conferences, and bookstores

I love speaking with kids about the power of stories, and about how the alchemy of books and readers can turn empathy into action. I am also available for library or bookstore events, or festivals or conferences, where I love reading, presenting or participating on panels.

virtual visits

And even if its not quite as good as the real thing, I love speaking about stories via Skype too! I am happy to do a free, 15-minute Q&A session, or if you’d prefer a 30- to 45-minute reading and presentation, I can arrange that for a small fee.