Thanks for the Invitation!

Here is a taste of what you can expect from me and some tips on how to prepare your students for my 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.

How should You prepare for me?

My wish list includes:

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 large (250) groups of students. In addition I will present another 50 minutes to the small (30)group of your choice.

This can be an afternoon kindergarten class, an art workshop with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders See example of Bear Cave projects or an illustrated Q&A about writing/drawing with 3rd-6th graders.  I will also present an evening assembly for parents and students for a small extra charge.

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

My assemblies are a mix of slide show and interactive drawing.

I inspire and reassure students by showing lots of artwork from my own childhood.  Using visual images, I explain everything from the value of research to attention to detail. My family and friends are integral to my work and I include the varied, amusing and sometimes surprising ways those close to me are included in my book illustrations.

In every interaction with your students I emphasize the importance of practice to become better at anything.

 I involve your students in a participatory drawing exercise. Based on their ideas for characters and  setting, I illustrate a story that extends over several pages. I teach basic rules of illustration and book making such as forward momentum, characterization and point of view.  The last page always includes a ‘cliff hanger’ and the words “What Happens Next?” 

Every student is 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 can I come?  

The earlier you schedule my visit to your school the better. I prefer to schedule school visits at least 4-6 months in advance, but a year ahead is not too early and it is never too late to inquire anytime.

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 2 hours driving time from my home in Central Vermont, I will come for the day only. If it is farther away, I will need to spend the night in a motel in your town the night before so I can be at school bright and early. You will be responsible for lodging costs. If I must fly to you, travel costs are your responsibility.

If you have questions about ANYTHING above, please write to me here.

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