Thanks for the Invitation!

Here’s a taste of what to expect and tips on how to prepare your students for a school visit. 

What will I bring?

I will bring books to display, a laptop and digital projector, a portable sound system, my drawing crayons and autographing pens.

can bring books to sell, or you can partner with a local bookstore or  order directly from the publishers.

What will you provide?

I’ll need:

A darkened room in which to show slides

A large screen or white wall

A compact projector cart with a power strip

A long extension cord

A 3’x6’ table for displaying books.  A stage works well too.

A large, sturdy easel equipped with plenty of white, unlined paper. The better quality the paper, the better the drawings will be. You keep all the drawings.

If I am flying to you, I will not bring the sound system. I will need a lapel mic. A hand held does not work when I am drawing.

How many presentations will I make?

I will present three 50-minute assemblies to a large group of students (up to 250 students) plus an additional 50-minute workshop with a small group of your choice (maximum 30 students).

The small group might be an afternoon kindergarten class or an art workshop with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders. For examples, see  Bear Cave projects or an illustrated Q&A about writing/drawing with 3rd through 6th graders.  For a small extra charge I can also present an evening assembly for parents and students.

Above: California state animals make marvelous “mola” designs, as shown by these 4th graders.

The large group assemblies are a fun mix of slide show and interactive drawing.

First, I inspire and reassure students by showing lots of artwork from my own childhood.  

As I present the storybooks, I explain everything from the value of research to attention to detail. Family, friends and pets are integral to my life and I demonstrate the amusing ways ways they have popped up in my work. In every interaction I emphasize the importance of practice to become better at anything.

Part 2 is to involve the students in a participatory drawing exercise. Starting with characters and a setting suggested by the group, I improvise a multi-page story and explain the basic rules of illustration and book-making as I go – forward momentum, characterization and point of view.  The last page always includes a ‘cliff hanger’ and the words “What Happens Next?” 

Students are then encouraged to take what they have learned and continue the story.

I try to leave time for a brief Q&A session.

What do you need to do to prepare for my visit? 


Once we have agreed on a date and signed a contract, your job is to prepare the students for my visit. The more excited they are, the better the day goes.  This prep includes familiarizing students with my books and using them as inspiration for art projects.

For good, general information, go to the American Library Association’s Website.  A thorough, inclusive list of what to plan for is available here.

Several weeks before I arrive I will need a detailed schedule and driving directions if your school is in the Northeast. I will email you a personalized bookmark. This can be reproduced and distributed to the entire student body. I would appreciate it if each student could receive one. I do not want to be asked to sign scraps of paper on the day I am visiting.



When am I available?  

I prefer to schedule school visits at least 4-6 months in advance. A full year ahead is not too early but it is never too late to inquire about a last-minute opening.

How much does it cost?

I charge $1200 for a full day at school and $400 for a single assembly or library visit. My conference keynote speaking fees are available on request.

If your school is within two hours driving time from my home in Central Vermont, I can make this a day trip. If it is farther away, I will want to arrive the night before so I can be at school bright and early. Travel costs: accommodations and transportation, if necessary, are your responsibility.

Further questions?  Please write to me here.


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