Hello librarians, teachers, and parents!
Visiting schools and talking with kids is one of the best parts of my job!
I love talking with kids about the process of writing, including where I get my ideas from, tips on rewriting, and even some mistakes I've made along the way (some of which are in the books!). Although my talks are based on my own experiences, my presentation is designed to encourage kids to write by showing them that all I really do is make up stories and write them down.
The Zack Proton books are best suited to ages 7 – 10, but my I have spoken to audiences ranging from pre-school to college. With kids who are too young to read, I act out a story using props to help encourage the kids to become creative storytellers at an early age. My presentations to Kindergarten and 1st Grade are usually 30 minutes, with one-hour presentations for older kids, but the schedules can be adjusted to meet the needs of each school. For older kids I discuss the writing and publishing processes at a higher level and in greater detail.
Because fourth graders in Texas take the TAKS writing test, upon request I can also incorporate a writing exercise into my talks with fourth graders. The writing exercise takes about 10 - 15 minutes and is intended to help them add descriptive language using all their senses, add life to the story through verb choices, and add humor by using similies.
I am available for either morning or afternoon sessions (two one-hour presentations each) for $300, or all day (up to four one-hour presentations) for $500, plus travel expenses if necessary. For travel I charge 51 cents per mile round trip using Google's city-to-city mileage from Austin, TX, and if an overnight stay is involved, the school pays for the hotel as well. The Zack Proton books are available to schools directly from the publisher at a 40% discount by calling Simon & Schuster's school and library customer service number at 1-800-976-1726. Some schools order in bulk through Barnes & Noble or another local bookstore instead, usually at a 20% discount.
I send the school librarian a set of three 11 x 17 Zack Proton posters in advance to help promote the visit to the students, and I bring Zack Proton bookmarks for all the kids on the day of the visit. I can also draw up pre-sales a flyer in pdf form if you like. You can see a sample here.
To see my curent schedule along with where I have visited in the past, please visit the Where's Brian page of this web site. My job at the University of Texas has flexible hours, and I am available any day of the week unless I have a prior committment.
And yes, all three Zack Proton books are Accelerated Reader books!
Thanks, and I hope I'll have the opportunity to visit your school!