||School visits are one of the aspects of working in children's books that I enjoy the most. So much of my time is spent alone in my studio, either writing or painting, that it's always a treat for me to meet in person the kids I'm working for.
The content of my school program varies according to the age and size of the group I'm seeing, as well as the capabilites of the space where we meet (no point in doing slides, for example, in a room that can't be darkened). I recognize how much work goes into this sort of event on the part of the host school and try to be flexible about form.
Whatever the particulars, my presentation's emphasis is always the process of making books. I bring in sketches, original art, publication production materials... whatever will take them 'backstage' and - I hope - give them a stronger connection to the world of books and reading.
As part of that, however, I also share the dead ends, the setbacks and the failures. I think that kids are tremendously aware of these things in their own work. I want them to see they're not alone. Seeing failed sketches and the manuscripts covered with post-its next to the completed books might tell them more about life- not just art - than anything else I do.
In addition, reading aloud and drawing together are always on the menu.
For details about scheduling, book orders, etc., please contact my booking agent, visitingauthors.com.