I love speaking at elementary schools. In a full-day visit I will do three presentations and also autograph books. Presentations can be assemblies and/or workshops. Large assemblies are fine, but workshops work best with smaller groups of 50 - 75 students of similar age. Occasionally I'm asked to speak at K-8 schools. I enjoy speaking with the older students. It makes for a nice change of pace. With older students I usually I talk more about the business of writing and publishing and let students ask lots of questions. From a host at one such school: "I was amazed at how much the students learned from you. You had those eighth graders engaged! That's a feat unparalleled at this point in the year."
I read aloud from my published books, talk about where some of my story ideas have come from, and use masks to engage children in acting out one of my stories. I also play a game in which children identify characters from my various books.
I talk about where some of my story ideas have come from, read aloud from two of my books, tell a bit about my series chapter books, and share examples of the revision process.
I talk about how I became a writer and explain a bit about my writing process and the ideas that gave rise to my books. I also use props to help students learn about the publishing process.
Choices: 1) How to Plot a Story or 2) How to "Show," not "Tell." (Two to three classes of students of similar age work best for workshops.)
Comments about my school visits...
"I can't thank you enough for the marvelous job you did with both the assemblies and the workshops. Teacher after teacher kept telling us how inspired your writing workshops made them--they got such great ideas for teaching writing to young children....You were personally such a delightful person to work with, too. We are still glowing from the experience."
"Teachers and students continue to tell me how much they enjoyed your presentations. I was especially impressed by how smoothly you incorporated real content about writing with an entertaining talk. What talent!"
"What a privilege it was to have you visit and share your work with Daniel Elementary! Writing became FUN, something joyous, in your library workshops. You made writing seem so alive and exciting, and it was contagious and captivating for our students. Each participant took away a pearl of learning. Writing seemed accessible, tangible, and of the heart. Great job!"
I enjoy speaking at conferences. I have been a keynote speaker or featured speaker at many educational conferences for teachers and librarians, and have spoken at writing conferences as well. Blurbs for my presentations are below, as well as a few accolades from participants or organizers.
To reserve your school visit date(s) on my calendar, send me an email confirming the agreed upon date(s) and fee. That's all I require in the way of a contract. If an invoice or other paperwork is required by your school district or PTSA please let me know in advance and send me any forms I need to fill out so I may be paid on the day of the visit.
I've found that school visits are most successful when students are familiar with my books. Ideally, students should read (or have read aloud to them), at least two of my books prior to my visit. Click here for a list of my books. I've also posted information on how to order my books. By the way, almost all of my books are listed with Accelerated Reader and have quizzes available through the AR program.
I will do three (3) presentations per day* plus autographing (if you choose to sell books). Large assemblies are not a problem, but workshops work best with groups of 50 – 75 students of similar age. Please allow 10-15 minutes between presentations for set-up as you compose a schedule from the choices above.
*If you have half-day kindergarteners who aren't at school during a primary assembly time, I'm willing to add a short fourth (20 - 25 minute) session to accommodate them.
Send me a copy of the day's 3-presentation schedule.
Please have the room where I'll be speaking set up and ready to go. I'll plan to arrive at least twenty to thirty minutes before the first assembly is scheduled to start.
Here's a short introduction you can copy and use if you'd like:
(Point to table displaying my books): We are pleased to have the author of all these books here with us today. Most of you have had the opportunity to read or hear her books during the last several weeks. Today you'll find out how she came to write some of her stories, and a bit about her life as a writer. Please show her what terrific listeners you are as we welcome Suzanne Williams.
With large groups I prefer that students sit on the floor, with chairs around the periphery for teachers and other adults.
For assembly presentations it's nice to be introduced to students before I speak--it gets them ready to listen.
Here's what I'll need:
Please provide me with a lunch, allowing a one-hour lunch break if possible. If time permits, a visit to a nearby restaurant is nice, but if there's no place close by, a fast-food type sandwich (or bagel with cream cheese) is fine. I love being a part of special staff luncheons, but I'm not fond of cafeteria food!
I love autographing books, and can sign during breaks in the day and after school as needed (as long as my schedule allows). Please have names to whom books are to be autographed clearly written on stickies attached to each book. I can also sign adhesive book plates to leave behind for any "late" sales. In addition, I will bring a master sheet of an autographed bookmark that can be copied and distributed to students who would like one; please encourage students to not ask me to sign slips of paper.
Usually my in-print books can be supplied through a local children's bookseller. Sometimes (ask!) local booksellers will even help with sales at a school before or during an author visit. Most offer a 20% discount off the cover price. If my books are not in the store, the bookseller should still be able to order them for you--given a few weeks advance notice. To find local, independent bookstores in your area go to IndieBound.
Amazon and Barnes & Noble have nearly all my books, even the ones that are out of stock or out of print at my publishers. These on-line bookstores can usually deliver books by mail within a few days. To find out what they have, do a search on "Williams, Suzanne." You'll want to cross-check the titles that come up against my list of books before you order, however, since Suzanne Morgan Williams also writes for children. All of my published books are fiction.
If you have enough lead time, you can order books directly from publishers and receive a 40% discount. Tell the customer service/promotions person that you are ordering books for a school author visit, and the date of the visit. Allow at least six weeks for delivery. You should be able to return unsold copies to the publisher.
Please keep in mind that books go out of stock or (worse) out of print rapidly these days--sometimes without my knowledge or even the knowledge of my editors. For that reason, all of the books listed below may or may not be available at the time that you order. However, these are the ones that I am fairly certain are still available:
I have lots of stock of Old MacDonald in the City, hardbound copies of Princess Power Books 1, 2, and 3, and paperback copies of all six Princess Power books and Fairy Blossoms 2, 3, and 4. I also have (limited) copies of many of my other OP titles. Just ask. I’ll be happy to bring copies to sell during school visits and can even mail books in advance of visits (real OR virtual).
For a three program schedule, my fees are:
Please contact me for conference fee information.
"I just wanted to thank you again for doing such a wonderful school assembly at Woodside Elementary here in Mill Creek.
Your easy way of communicating with kids made for a fun educational experience for them and has doubtless inspired some
of the kids to try their hand at writing."
—Mickey Gallagher, Children’s Services Librarian, Mill Creek Library, Mill Creek, WA
"Suzanne’s books have an appeal to students particularly in the primary grades. She does a very clever student-involved
presentation with her book Mommy Doesn’t Know My Name. Her chapter books are hilarious, and they offer a chance for
low-level readers to find better success in reading. And, of course, her book Library Lil is a crowd pleaser — Suzanne told the
history behind this book that kept all grades interested. Her performances were informative and held the interest of the
intended audience. I would have her back any time."
—Carol Steen, Librarian, Longview, WA
"Mrs. Williams brings a passion for words and stories to her presentations that engages and involves the students. Her calm
and assured manner draws the students into the worlds of her stories and has them hanging on every word…I was pleased
that [her] age-appropriate and fun programs were also educational. She was warm and genuine whether she was reading to
the students, answering the questions of our Author Ambassadors, or chatting with the teachers. Her background as a
librarian makes her an organized joy—thorough and dependable in her plans, arrangements, and presentations…She
connected with our kids on their level and made creating and writing and publishing something that each of them is capable of
doing. Mrs. Williams says, 'Strong readers rule,' and I see that she is a strong performer who encourages and proves that
-Fran Woodruff, Media Specialist Edgewood Elementary School, Homewood, AL
"The children at our school really enjoyed Suzanne’s presentation. She had many students participate in skits and had lots of
student interaction. The children enjoyed her books very much!"
—Gloria Bailey, Librarian, Northlake Elementary, Longview, WA
"Our reading council invited Suzanne Williams to spend a week within the Elko County School District. She visited nine schools
and participated in two evening events. She was very easy to work with and very accommodating. Her visit required traveling
to schools in outlying communities, and she worked well with all the schools."
—Robbie Nickel, Elko County Reading Council/Elko County School District
"Having been a former school librarian, she could relate to the children and the teachers well. She is a very enjoyable person.
When we had a minor glitch with the audio-visual equipment, she went right on as if nothing had occurred—very unflappable."
—Patricia Koria, Library Media Specialist, Etta J. Wilson School, Newark, DE
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