Why are Author-Illustrator School Visits So Important

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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 schoolvisitexperts.com

Alexas O’Neal is an author who created schoolvisitexperts.com 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 – http://authorbystate.blogspot.com

SCBWI Hawaii – “find a speaker” tab – https://hawaii.scbwi.org

The Booking Biz Author list – https://thebookingbiz.com/speakers/

YA Authors list https://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/List_of_YA_Authors_by_State

Authors who do 15-20 minute free Skype visits https://www.katemessner.com/authors-who-skype-with-classes-book-clubs-for-free/

Penguin Authors who do skype visits https://www.penguin.com/school-library/author-appearance-roster

Skype an author network http://skypeanauthor.wikifoundry.com

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: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/index.html

Grant Opportunities https: //thebookingbiz.com/2016/08/21-ways-to-fund-author-visits/

•SCBWI Amber Brown Grant Any school may apply.
Submit Nov 1-April 15th, 2020  https://www.scbwi.org/awards/grants/amber-brown-grant/

•Follett Challenge Deadline December 12th, 2019 https://www.follettchallenge.com

•Target Grants- https: //corporate.target.com/corporate-responsibility/philanthropy/Target-Foundation/national
•Dollar General Literacy Foundation – https://www.dgliteracy.org/ – 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