I would love to come speak at your school.
After a lifetime of studying the craft of writing -- from poetry to songwriting, sportswriting to children's books -- I think I can inspire children to work hard and believe in themselves. Writing is hard. And showing one's creativity to the world is an act of bravery. I have many stories to share about struggle and rejection. After all, the publication of this debut book, has come after decades of reaching for the gold ring. So, I am an expert on this subject!
Up first during a school visit is a reading of my book, "Waiting for Pumpsie." Depending on the grade and comprehension level, I discuss the context of my historical nonfiction story.
This can lead into a discussion of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackie Robinson, and baseball. We hit many of the important events that took place between Jackie's debut in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Pumpsie's debut in 1959. This mirrors the website's "Timeline" page. A slide show of the world of Boston, 1959 -- the main character's world in the book -- accompanies this section.
Next, I talk about the process of writing. I show (and read) early versions of the text and talk about the edits, and why. The original title was "Pumpsie, the Red Sox and Me," and I can read pargraphs that were left on the "cutting room floor." I like to think of this part of the presenation as the Director's Cut. This always gets the kids talking, since the process of editing and revising is a staple of elementary school studies. (As is beginning, middle and end, which we discuss in terms of "Pumpsie.")
I have the original sketches from the llustrator, London Ladd, and I show them -- as well as the finished product. There were a few sketches that had to be changed, and I show them to the class, too.
At the end, there is a Q&A section, and am happy to sign the book, or a blank sheet of paper, a t-shirt, a hand or an arm!
Upon departure, I leave five-page pamplets for each student which review my presentation, have some of the black & white sketches for coloring, and a crossword puzzle. Oh, and some stickers, of course!
I can tailor my presentation around your needs and requirements. Please contact me at 646-345-7461, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A fun time is guaranteed by all!!!