I have always loved books. I didn't always enjoy reading them mind you. But I loved looking at them. I loved having them read to me. And I especially loved drawing pictures inspired by the stories I heard.
As a former reluctant reader, I know that sometimes kids need to hear about different ways to discover the magic of books. For me, drawing pictures--and writing a few, often misspelled, words to link those pictures together--was one of the ways that I first got hooked on stories as a child. In my presentations, I talk a bit about this, and even bring in some samples of my early book attempts (from about age 7!) that usually make students, of any age, laugh (with me, not at me, I'm sure).
Then I talk about the kinds of books I'm making now, particularly about how a picture book comes to be: from the first crazy idea jotted down in my notebook, to some early sketches and story ideas, to the final art that you see in the published book.
Along the way, I also talk a little bit about the life of an author -- showing pictures of my family, my studio, and people I work with. I'll share some drawing tricks and techniques with students and show them that really anyone can learn to do this. Any artwork that I create during the presentation is left for students and teachers to enjoy after my visit. Each presentation ends with a reading from one or more of my books, with time to answer questions from students and teachers.
My school presentations are usually 45-60 minutes long, and I am comfortable speaking to students from kindergarten all the way up to post-secondary. Obviously I tailor the presentations according to the age of the students (though I secretly think that most teenagers would really like my kindergarten presentation!).
For more information about my presentations or fees, or to book me for a speaking engagement please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org