I love talking with readers and aspiring writers. I would be happy to visit your school, lead a workshop, or speak at a conference or library.
I love working with students. As a former middle school language arts teacher, I have taught hundreds of students and helped them become passionate readers and writers. I would love to visit your school and speak with the kids, either about my book, writing in general, or one of the specific topics below. For students who have already read my book, I am happy to virtually visit your classroom and answer the students’ questions about my book or writing.
I have a particular passion for blending my lawyer experience with non-fiction writing, helping kids discern the strength of their sources, the importance of corroboration, and pinning down direct evidence in deciding what facts are appropriate for a report or non- fiction book. The antidote to passing along untrue information is research, and knowing how to negotiate the research rabbit holes out there is a place where I excel.
Virtual Author Visits
I am happy to virtually meet with students who have read my book to discuss HONEY,THE DOG WHO SAVED ABE LINCOLN, young Abe Lincoln, or the writing process. Sessions are question-answer format with no specific talk or lesson plan. These virtual visits are 20 minutes. (No charge.)
In-Person Author Visits
I am available for full or half-day presentations. I can speak on one of the topics below or work with you to develop a topic of particular interest to your group. I am happy to coordinate a combination of large presentations and smaller class workshops to meet your needs. I have a particular fondness for helping kids brainstorm and unleash their own creativity.
Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln
We all know Abraham Lincoln, the president, but I’ve become a specialist on young Abe Lincoln, the child. In this talk I give more insight into Abe’s childhood, his heroes, his challenges, his chores, his studies, his friends. What was it like to be a young curious boy on the Kentucky frontier? I’ll also discuss how I got the idea for my book and share some of the more interesting parts of the story that were left out of the book.
How Does an Idea Become a Story?
What makes something a story? Available as an interactive class workshop or a larger lecture. We will brainstorm a story idea and consider the essential elements of character, setting, conflict and plot. This talk is suitable for both large and small groups and can be adapted to any age.
Point of View
In this empathy-building workshop, we consider who is telling the story and how that changes what is told and omitted. Using The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolff as told to Jon Scieszka and Cinderella, we consider how dramatically a story can change by who is telling it. This workshop works best in class-sized groups of upper- elementary or older students. I will need a white board and pens.
Getting the Facts Right: How to Distinguish Between Fact and Fiction When Writing Non-fiction Reports or Stories
Drawing from my legal background, I help students consider reliability of sources, credibility of witnesses, corroboration, and direct and circumstantial evidence in order to develop a critical eye. Not all ‘news’ is real. Not all websites are legitimate. Not all that people say is true. In this talk suited for older students (4th grade and up), I help students become discerning connoisseurs of facts and news, sharing challenges I faced to pin down facts in my own book.
Custom presentation or workshop
I’m happy to create a workshop or lecture that meets your specific needs.