Teachers/Librarians

School/Library Visits

I love talking with students from third grade through high school. I believe my visits should make every child feel both comfortable and empowered. They should have the opportunity to see themselves and their lives in my presentation and my books. I am a Chicago native who understands that sometimes making dreams come true may seem impossible to young people. But possibilities are real, and struggle often bears fruit. That is the message behind my books, and the message in my visit, no matter what the subject.

Like many of the characters in my stories, I learned at an early age that family can be both the cause of, and the solution to many of life’s ills. During my visits I work to get participants engaged, to let them see the creative process, and feel a part of it. Because with a belief in ourselves and the flow of creative juices, we can all start down the road to success.

  • Reluctant Reader presentation
    Reluctant Reader presentation
  • American Library Association audience
    American Library Association audience
  • South Central High School
    South Central High School
  • Ohio Educational Library Media Association
    Ohio Educational Library Media Association
  • Oswego High School book club
    Oswego High School book club
  • Illinois Library Association panel on Diversity
    Illinois Library Association panel on Diversity
  • Teaching at Illinois Library Association Teen Session
    Teaching at Illinois Library Association Teen Session

What Goes Into A Visit

Every engagement begins with a discussion between myself and the school or library officials requesting the visit to go over goals, size of the group, age of participants, length of time, etc. and the kind of presentation to be arranged.

I talk on the following topics:

  • Beginnings, Middles, and Ends – writing tips to cover everything from crafting an opening to achieving an ending that will have readers asking for more
  • Spice of Diversity – showing readers and future writers how incorporating diverse characters, cultures and settings with care and finesses can enhance the joy of reading
  • Ripped from the headlines – i.e. where real life meets fiction

Note that any program can be tailored in terms of length or content to best meet the needs of a specific class or group. That includes Skype presentations.

The following issues are often covered with participants:

  • The way your life is now isn’t always how things work out…sometimes the future gets waaaay better.
  • Why revision is an absolute must for success, on paper and in life.
  • Writer’s block and why its sometimes so hard to keep going
  • The importance of conflict in a story
  • Keeping your dreams alive, even in the face of rejection

Adult Workshops

 

I also do professional development presentations aimed at teachers and librarians. I am a member of KidLitNation, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, ALA, BCALA, and YALSA.
In the past I have spoken at ALA (2015) on outreach to reluctant readers. I have also made presentations reaching reluctant readers, diversity in fiction, helping new authors get in print.
I am happy to tailor a presentation for your professional and group or library patrons.
Past speaking engagements:
  • Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OEMLA)
  • Illinois Library Association (ILA)
  • Illinois School Library Media Association
  • Connecticut Library Association
  • National Conference of African American Librarians
  • Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Conference
  • Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Children

Costs

In-person fee – $1,000 for up to four hours per day, plus expenses (transportation plus lodging if applicable). The four hour period can be subdivided to meet the needs of an individual school or library, for example: four sessions of one hour each. The fee is waived for schools purchasing 50 copies of more of one of her books.

½ hour Skype visits are free. One hour up to 1 ½ hours are $150.

NOTE: Fees are waived for schools purchasing 50 copies of more of one of my books.