“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bring an author to your school or library (and no travel expenses!)

So, your class or book group is reading a book and you'd like your students/readers to be able to meet and talk with that author, but the author's not nearby or his/her travel schedule just doesn't allow for that in-person visit. Not to worry: you can still give your readers face-time with the author via virtual author visits. I've been thinking about them a good deal as I hear of more and more teachers using Skype and smartboards in their classrooms. Children's and teen authors and illustrators offer a variety of virtual programs via internet connections to fit your needs - and a variety of prices (some no cost at all). Worth exploring?

Middle school teacher and children's book author Kate Messner recently did a virtual visit with author Laurie Halse Anderson and provided a thorough explanation of the process in her blog post, Virtual Author Visits: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, & the Awesome. Messner includes photos of the set-up, details of what worked, what she'd do differently next time, and a how-to for those looking to set up a Skype virtual author visit. Definitely worth a peek for those looking for how-to advice. So, while I have virtual author visits on the brain, thought I'd share info on a few authors who are available to do just that:

Kate Messner is an author and National Board Certified middle school English teacher. Her titles include THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z (Walker Books, September 2009), MARTY MCGUIRE, FROG PRINCESS (Scholastic, 2010), and OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW (Chronicle, 2010) as well as two regional historical novels set on Lake Champlain, both available now from North Country Books. Kate offers virtual visits for kids in grades 3-8. They range from brief Q and A sessions that allow students to talk with her about specific books and her writing process to full-length presentations that tie in with your school's curriculum for English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. To contact Kate about a virtual visit, please visit her website and click on the Email link. Also, www.twitter.com/kmessner.

CHAI and CHAT with Mitali Perkins! The author of SECRET KEEPER enjoys talking to middle-schoolers and high-schoolers about the life-changing power of story. She breaks the ice by sharing a few memories, some funny and some poignant, about growing up “between cultures” with traditional Bengali parents in an all-white suburb. Her goal is to create an atmosphere of hospitality during a virtual chat so that kids feel comfortable to ask questions about writing, publishing, or anything that comes to mind about her books. Brew up the tea, break out the biscuits, and invite your students to enjoy an inspiring, face-to-face conversation with the author of RICKSHAW GIRL, MONSOON SUMMER, and other novels for young readers. To book a virtual author visit with Mitali, visit her website or www.twitter.com/mitaliperkins.

Have racial tensions all gone away? Is race an issue anymore in our friendships? In our schools? In our elections? How is your world different from or similar to the characters' in MORNING IN A DIFFERENT PLACE? Former teacher and National Book Award finalist-author Mary Ann McGuigan discusses peer pressure in school. McGuigan says: "In my book, Fiona responds to pressure to behave like the popular group in school, even though she clearly finds the things that entertain them unappealing: their TV shows, their stiff parties, their music. In society, we all conform to different norms in the groups we want to be part of. It's crucial for us to recognize when the mandate of the group violates our fundamental beliefs--our understanding of what's right and wrong." Email Mary Ann or see her website for more info on virtual visits for 7th grade and up.


james roy said...

This is a terrific idea, and one I've been toying with myself. Since I live in Australia, to Skype-talk to a US school would require me to be up and awake at a silly hour of the morning, but it's something I'd definitely do. We're in the heart of the next great age of innovation and renaissance, and finding new ways to reach markets and audiences is a big part of that. And sometimes that means late nights and early mornings...

sachauncey said...

Hi, We've started a collaborative wiki where authors are gathering -- http://skypeanauthor.wetpaint.com.
Sarah Chauncey