NOTE: Meg has been on haitus from school visits while finishing the last book in the Lizzie McLane Trilogy, When You Never Said Goodbye (due out March 21, 2017). She’s now back to booking for 2017-18!
Thanks so much to YOU! You are truly wonderful and an excellent writer. The children (and their teacher) learned so much during your visit, and truly enjoyed every minute of your time spent with us. Thank you so much! Best of luck in all that you do!
Mrs. Papineau (3rd grade, St. Martin De Porres School, Poughkeepsie, NY)
I can't thank you enough for your visit with my students last week. For the rest of the week, they continued to speak enthusiastically about your time here. The AP kids felt that you opened a door for them in terms of making poetry accessible, a lift that will really benefit them as they go into their exam Thursday. My creative writing students are continuing to work on the poem they started with you and will submit it for credit by semester's end. Both classes expressed how glad they were that you came. I emphatically echo that sentiment. I will announce your Thursday library talk and anticipate that you will see some students there. I'd go myself, but for a prior commitment.
Thanks again, and let's keep in touch.
(Jeff Delois, Mascenic High School, New Ipswich, NH, May 2013)
The summer before I was old enough to go to kindergarten, I used to sneak over to the elementary school—which meant crossing our quiet road, then cutting through the neighbor’s yard—and voila, I was on the playground. I’d peek into the window of the custodian’s office, and if Mr. Baright or Campbell were there, one of them would reach through the open window and lift me inside. Then, Campbell would let me ride around on his work cart while he cleaned the classrooms or shined the gym floor. The principal would eventually catch us, and I would be sent home. The principal was my father. He was gentle in his reprimands but firm in his directions: go home, and tell your mother to call me when you get there.
These days, I still enjoy going to schools but no longer have to sneak. One of my favorite things is talking with young people about books and writing.
I have three requirements for school visits:
1) Students read (or have read to them) at least one of my books before I visit. If students and their teachers are familiar with my work, they will get so much more out of our conversations about writing!
2) The library should have a copy of at least one of my books on its shelves. Please know that I will donate a copy to schools with no book budgets.
3) Students take home a book order *form so that they have the opportunity to order a book before or after I visit. I’m glad to sign books for students and teachers while at a school! Students are not required to buy my books, but I do ask that the school sends home an order form with everyone I’ll have the opportunity to meet.
My picture book, Trouper, works well with grades K-6. My verse novels work best with students in grades 6 through 12. While The Secret of Me is great for grades 6 (or even savvy fifth graders) and up, The Girl in the Mirror is appropriate for grades 9 through 12.
I hope my novels-in-verse speak to people young and old, and that they also serve to help teachers introduce students to poetry in the classroom. Click here to read educator David Capella’s take on the “teachability” of The Secret of Me and The Girl in the Mirror.
FEES & SCHEDULING
A one-day visit includes up to 3 presentations. Ideally, each presentation lasts 1 hour, though I can accommodate shorter sessions.
To determine the driving distance between your school and my town, simply use MapQuest. (Type in “New Ipswich, New Hampshire” as the starting point.)
Very Local Visits (up to a 1-hour drive)
Local Visits (up to a 2-hour drive)
$850/day + mileage
Generally New England Visits (3- to 4-hour drive)
$850/day + mileage, overnight accommodations, and meals.
Long-Distance Visits (requiring air travel)
(Please note: There is a 2-day minimum for these visits.)
$850/day + mileage, overnight accommodations, meals, airfare, and local transportation.
For more information or to book a visit, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAMPLE PRESENTATIONS: Grades K-4
What Trouper Has to Say About Poetry
This interactive presentation includes a reading of Trouper and an exploration of ideas like rhyme, abstract vs. concrete words, and metaphor. We work together to create fresh metaphors and children are encouraged to tell their own stories using the tools discussed. Librarians & teachers: if possible, please show students the three-minute video, “Trouper’s Story,” before my visit. (Available on this Web site and on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTXE2vpakBU.)
SAMPLE PRESENTATIONS: Grades 5 & 6
Trouper, The Secret of Me, & Poetry
This interactive presentation includes a reading of Trouper in addition to poems from my middle-grade verse novel, The Secret of Me. We exploration of ideas like rhyme, abstract vs. concrete words, and metaphor. We work together to create fresh metaphors and children are encouraged to write their own portrait poems. Librarians & teachers: if possible, please show students the three-minute video, “Trouper’s Story,” before my visit. (Available on this Web site and on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTXE2vpakBU.)
SAMPLE PRESENTATIONS: Grades 7-12
What It’s Like Workshop (no more than 30 students/session)
As Stanley Kunitz has said, poetry “is ultimately mythology, the telling of the stories of the soul.” Using poems from The Secret of Me, The Girl in the Mirror, and poets I admire, we will explore how diction, image, and metaphor can work to create poems that express the otherwise inexpressible. If time allows, students will draft poems in class and we’ll discuss and celebrate them as a group; otherwise, they’ll be challenged to write poems as a take-home assignment.
Portrait Poems (no more than 30 students/session)
This workshop will enlighten students as to how poems can communicate feelings, images, and ideas in a concrete way; and teach students how to compare and contrast through metaphor and simile, as well as enliven description through use of the senses. Students will come to recognize details, facts, & ideas concerning literary characters, including those characters’ relationships with themselves and with others in a story. At the same time, it will help students relate literary characters/situations to people/ situations in their own lives. I will challenge students to write from a perspective different from their own, and/or to write about themselves or others in ways that might shed light on their own or other person’s lives/emotions. This workshop will enable students to interact with words, images, and ideas in ways that develop their abilities in reading, listening, viewing, thinking, and writing.
A Writer’s Life Conversation, Reading, and Q&A (for a small class on up to school-wide assembly)
I will talk about how I started as a writer, what my life is like as both a writer and someone who works with authors and writing students, and read some of my work (from my books for adults as well as my novels-in-verse for teens, as appropriate). Then I’ll gladly take questions and engage students and teachers in what I hope is a lively dialogue.