Bring an Author to Your School or Library
Jeff speaking to first graders at Hillsdale Christian School about being an author.
It was not too long ago that I was the kid sitting in the desk listening to grown-ups talk, and I still remember the inspiration felt by hearing accomplished people about what they have done. When an author visits, kids see that books come from real people just like them, not some nebulous figure beyond the edge of their horizons.
I've met with kids from first graders up to seniors in high school, and I have several options for presentations depending on age groups:
For younger kids, I like to do some background about myself, what it means to be a writer, and a little reading, then discuss the things that make a story: setting, characters, and plot. Workshop ideas include writing short stories, reading them, and pointing out their settings, characters, and plots.
As kids get older, I talk more about the craft of writing: brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing. After looking at some of my own writing, I give a look at where ideas can originate and how playing "What if...?" can lead to new, never-before-imagined worlds.
The older kids seem to appreciate the "nuts and bolts" of writing. I give a look at the whole process from the first spark of an idea, through drafting to revising, then the search for publication. We can discuss more advanced notions of prose and realism, what it means to "write what you know" even in fiction.
→ In all of the presentations, I like to have plenty of time to answer questions. Their own curiosity is their best teacher.
Jeff signing books in the library of his alma mater.
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