Counting Down the Days

At this time of year students tend to get restless and tired of the routine of school. The kids aren't the only ones to get weary. If you're a teacher, you may be counting down the days until summer break. It may seem that you must work extra hard to keep the students' attention. When each day seems longer than the last, those final weeks of school can be hard.

Maybe I can help. Since The Legend of Sassafras House was released last August, I've done presentations in a number of elementary and middle schools, and I'll be happy to visit your school. I'll promote literacy and give your students some pointers on the basics of writing fiction. This material is best suited for students in grades three through six. I'll speak to individual classrooms, grade levels, or large groups.

There aren't many weeks left in this school year, so let me know ASAP if you'd like your school added to my schedule.



Oklahoma School Visits

School visits are the best part of being a middle-grade author. I've visited a number of schools this year, and I have loved meeting new teachers, librarians, and students. This week I took The Legend of Sassafras House to Norman, Oklahoma.

One school I visited was Terra Verde Discovery School. This school is a teacher's dream. I saw a 5th grade classroom with its own loft library, accessed by a spiral staircase. There were garden plots and live animals on site. The campus has its own lake. The students themselves were the only thing more impressive than these amenities. They were attentive and respectful. Their manners were impeccable. Each and every student stood and identified himself before speaking. Wow, just wow. I didn't want to leave.

Also, I visited Washington Elementary School, a part of Norman Public Schools. This was the first school I've been to all year with a computerized check-in/check-out system for visitors. I was photographed and had to provide proof of identification. It was easy to see that the school system values the safety of their students. Washington Elementary was large and the buildings were beautiful and well-maintained. The students gave me a warm reception and displayed genuine interest in my presentation. I loved every minute of my time there.

Terra Verde Discovery School

Washington Elementary School



Focus on the Future

Fourth grade students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School have been exploring careers. Their school counselor, Mrs. Jenny Brown, has invited a number of people from the community to talk to the students about their work. She wants to encourage the students to focus on the future.

I was honored to speak to the students today about writing. I shared with them my own journey on building a writing career. I also gave them some pointers on writing fiction. It was exciting to see this young generation thinking about their futures. I hope the remarks I made today will inspire a youngster to pursue his own writing career.

One of my favorite parts of school visits is the t-shirt drawing.