Thursday, April 11, 2013

Some Thoughts on School Visits

A school visit from last year.
I was privileged last week to give two presentations at an elementary school in a village about forty minutes from my home. At this stage in my writing career, school visits are few and far between. One reason for that could be that for the past three years I've concentrated on writing biographies for an older audience. But it's still a pleasure to get to interact with children in the schools, and I count myself lucky if I get to do at least one presentation each year.

The busiest years for this sort of thing were those years when I had a book nominated for one of the Forest of Reading awards. It strikes me as odd that even then, most of the visits I did were in school board districts other than my own. Around here,  it seems as if the schools aren't aware that authors are available to deliver entertaining, educational, and enlightening programs for their students. Or that there is a subsidy program administered by the Writers' Union to help finance said visit. I don't know why that is, except perhaps because where I live we no longer have full-time librarians in the schools.

If you are considering inviting an author to visit your school, a good place to start is with the Writers' Union website. Under Programs, look for Ontario-Writers-in-the Schools Pregram for information about subsidies. On this site you'll also find a list of members who give presentations, what type of programs they offer, and how far they might be willing to travel.

You can also find information about children's writers available to do school visits at the website of the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP): and at the website of the Canadian Children's Book Centre: A couple of these sites will also give you the amount of the author's fee.

The vast majority of Canadian writers also have their own personal websites, so if you know whom you'd like to invite, be sure you check these out.

Stay tuned! More on School Visits next time.

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