Archives: scbwi Hawaii

Why are Author-Illustrator School Visits So Important

Children are inspired to read and write when they meet the author and illustrators of the books that they read!

Scholl visit

Why are author-illustrator school and library visit so important?

Children feel empowered in a world where they usually have no influence. By meeting an author/illustrator or relating to a character in a book, they see possibilities in themselves. When kids meet an author or illustrator, they are inspired that they too might be able to write or illustrate their own story. They feel empowered to make a difference and they are more inclined to WRITE and READ!

Statistics from

Alexas O’Neal is an author who created This statistic comes from a nationwide survey of over 600 teachers, librarians, administrators and parents.

Top Benefits of an author visit:

1 – Motivates students to read more (91%)

2 – Inspires creativity and expression (75%)

3 – Motivates students to write more (70%)

How to have an author/illustrator visit

Question to ask your team:

•Who do I invite?

•How do I raise funds?

•How do I set up the visit and make it successful so that the children are influence to read and write even after the visit? Things to think about before looking for an author.

• Who is your Audience – are they children who read picture books, middle grade or are they adult readers?

•What is your Budget – How much can you do to achieve your goal for the visit? Kids can get involved here too! This may determine if it will be an in-person visit or virtual. Local or out of state.

• Who is your Support Team –  will you be doing set up yourself or do you have a team of people who can help? PTO? Other librarians and or teachers?

Links to find speakers

Author listings by state –

SCBWI Hawaii – “find a speaker” tab –

The Booking Biz Author list –

YA Authors list

Authors who do 15-20 minute free Skype visits

Penguin Authors who do skype visits

Skype an author network

How do I raise funds?

On Campus Field Trip – Instead of a field trip you could have an author visit. For the low cost of a couple dollars from each student you could have a half day to full day of live entertainment and expose them to literature and art!

Parent or Community Organization – You can request the PTO or FOL to raise funds for an author visit.

Pledge Drive – Students could have a read-a-thon or write-a-thon pledge drive.

• Sponsorship from Local businesses – Banks and other businesses often have funds set aside for supporting the community.

Share the cost – Share the expense of the author visit with with other libraries or schools in the area.

Book sales – Work with a bookstore that would give you a discount and sell books at regular price. You can use the money you make to off set the cost of the author visit.

Penny Drive – Children could run a penny drive. Children take pride in being able raise money for a visit!

Creative Ideas – Other Ideas might include the kids making and selling Recipe books and or Calendars. You could use the author/illustrators book as your theme.

Pizza night or Movie night – A paid fun night at the library or school.

Title 1 Funds and Grants

If your school qualifies you may be eligible to apply and put your funding toward an author/illustrator visit.

U.S. Department of Education:

Grant Opportunities https: //

•SCBWI Amber Brown Grant Any school may apply.
Submit Nov 1-April 15th, 2020

•Follett Challenge Deadline December 12th, 2019

•Target Grants- https: //
•Dollar General Literacy Foundation – – youth-literacy-grants

How do I make a successful author/Illustrator visit?

•Check with the author to find out what kind of program they will be presenting.

•Have the kids read the authors books ahead of time, kids are more enthused when they know the books ahead of time.

•Some authors have curriculum guides for their books. These usually have exercises and games that help the children get into their book’s world.

•Advanced book sales are a great way for kids to be able to see the author up close and get a book signed.

•If books can’t be signed ask for the author to bring bookplates for kids that order the book after the visit.

•Reserve a parking spot for the author.

•Have water available for the author.

•Ask about dietary restrictions if you are providing snacks or lunch.

•Make sure teachers are also modeling good listening skills during the presentation.

You can find out more about my school visits on my presentation page on my site. Email me if you have a specific event that you would like me to present at. I’ve done hands on workshops as well as Skype presentations.

Most of all, enjoy the process of having an author and or illustrator visit your school or library. Don’t sweat it, Authors and Illustrators are people too. You will be thrilled with the visit and how the children will be encouraged to read and write! You can hear more about me on a blog that was posted through 

Hawaii Book and Music Festival

Celebrating books at the

Hawaiian Book and Music Festival


This free event brings together booksellers, publishers, musicians, actors, authors and illustrators. Not to mention the food of Hawaii! Scbwi Hawaii were represented by a few of our members at the HBMF this past weekend

We first met at the former Olympic gold medalist, Kristi Yamaguchi’s reading tent. Kristi has a foundation that helps support early childhood literacy. The books in her program are all-digital and can be accessed through student’s classrooms. She also has her own children’s books “Dream Big, Little Pig”, “It’s a Big World, Little Pig” and “Cara’s Kindness”.

SCBWI member and Hawaii State Librarian, Author Christin Lozanoshared her book “Island Toes”

Christin began her career as a 4th grade teacher and quickly discovered that her young students’ favorite part of the day was when she would read aloud to the class. The experience became so rewarding that she decided to become a Children’s Librarian. Today she is the Reference Librarian at Kaimuki Public Library. After having read hundred’s of keiki stories with mainland themes, she became motivated to write her own story for local keiki. This is her first book.

SCBWI Member Sue Cowingshared some of her poems that were published in the Bamboo Ridge, Journal of Literature and Arts.

Sue was born to a family of amateur naturalists and poetry lovers and grew up in Carl Sandburg’s birthplace, a small town in western Illinois called Galesburg. She’s been writing poems and stories and letters since She was about seven. Her favorite days then and now have always been rainy days, because they fill her with energy and ideas for inventing stories and poems and songs.

Though She studied and eventually taught history, Sue has always loved myths and fairy tales too. She believes they tell their own kind of truth. An illustrated book of Chinese tales she read in elementary school stirred what would become a lifelong curiosity about Chinese culture and art. As soon as Sue could manage it, she moved to Hawai‘i to study Chinese history, which she’d had a taste of in college. Sue soon made Honolulu her home because She loved, and still loves, the multicultural world of Hawaii. She has continued to enjoy exploring Chinese and Japanese culture through t’ai chi, tea ceremony, and taiko drumming.

Sue’s greatest pleasure in writing poetry is finding just the right language to convey an observation or experience that might otherwise be lost. In fiction she tries to write stories of serious hope, with a dash of humor. In almost every story of hers there is a hint of Asian culture and a special object, and often a major character is some kind of artist.

Focusing on writing means that there is not enough time for many things that she would like to do, but she can always write about them. Sue hopes to be lucky enough to do this for the rest of her life.

SCBWI member Mirka HokkanenRead her debut book “Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book”Which came out this March.

 Mirka is a Hawaii artist, illustrator and author. Mirka’s favorite things to illustrate are animals and kids. She loves a good chuckle and adds a spark of humor where ever she can fit it. When not brandishing a pencil, Mirka is probably wielding a cheese stick and a book to appease the three wild kids that claim her as their mother at home. Her debut book, Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book, came out in March 2019.

Thrilled that I got to meet the Hawaii State Librarian Stacey Aldrich

Martina Wing a diver and a SCBWI member from the Big Island also join us at the HBMF. She is an ambitious author with a true story about a dolphin that came to a group of divers asking for help, she filmed the dive master helping the dolphin. It’s a truly inspirational story. You can find her book and story on

It was a wonderful weekend to celebrate books! I visited many of the local publisher’s tents, and they are always looking for a good story, especially one for the children and adults of Hawaii.  You can look at their websites for their submission process.

Here are a the publisher’s represented at the HBMF :

Mutual PublishingBeach house Publishing

Bishop Museum Press

Kamehameha Publishing

Watermark Publishing

University of Hawaii Press

Bess Press and Da Shop

Bamboo Ridge Press- Journal of Hawaii Literature and Arts

Here are a few pictures from the event.