Illustrator's/Author's Wish List
Wish List Compiled by The POD,
an online group of childrenís writers.
the illustrator/author to confirm the author visit!
ask the illustrator/author to do additional sessions after details of
the visit have been agreed upon.
author has 15 minutes between sessions, do not let students use that
time to get their books signed. The illustrator/author needs those 15
minutes to catch her/his breath, race to the restroom, get a drink,
and sit down for a minute. Speaking to large groups of kids demands
high-energy, and s/he can't do it nonstop without a break. If you
expect an author to do extra things, like 'read something to the
entire student body' or 'tell us how reading has changed your life,'
tell her/him before the visit so that s/he can be prepared.
PREPARING THE STUDENTS
Students must be familiar with the illustrator's/authorís books. If
possible, prepare students by reading all of the authorís work with/to
them. Otherwise, select several books to share beginning well in
advance of the visit.
addition, the best school visits occur when preparations infuse the
to introduce the author in a fun and lively way. The librarian or
teacher who does this job is basically the warm-up band to get the
kids fired up.
illustrator/author is speaking in a large room--auditorium or gym--you
must provide a microphone for the students' questions. It's
impossible to hear students unless they are in the first few rows. (An
alternative to this is to provide the author with a lapel mike and
room to move to the person who is speaking.)
possible, have the students wear name tags. It is a tremendous help to
the author both during the presentation and while signing.
leave students alone with the visiting author. Authors are not hired
to be baby-sitters. Likewise, if a teacher/librarian sees students
disrupting, s/he should not be afraid to interrupt the session to
remedy the situation. It is not the authorís job to teach manners.
someone, either an adult or an older student, to act as the
illustrator/authorís host or hostess for the day. S/he should greet
the illustrator/author when s/he arrives, introduce her/him to
teachers and staff, and lead her/him from place to place.
on-going hot tea with lemon or cold water (author preference) for
time for a midmorning snack.
enough time to get from one class to the next and for bathroom breaks.
for a real lunch, rather than cafeteria food.
plan evening activities that run late if the illustrator/author is
visiting your schools for a week. The illustrator/author needs the
evening to rest and regroup for the next day.
BOOK SALES AND SIGNINGS
assume that an illustrator/author will bring her/his own books to sell
at a school visit. Check with her/him in advance. Many authors do not
sell their own books and feel very uncomfortable being put into the
position of doing so.
illustrator/author does not sell her/his own books, order books the
day the author confirms. You can never order books too early. The
biggest mistake schools make is waiting too long to order.
check with booksellers or jobbers providing books to be sure that all
titles are available.
a reasonably comfortable adult-sized chair and table for the signing.
allow students to ask the illustrator/author to sign slips of paper or
body parts. Most authors will provide signedbookmarks--or provide a
master sheet so the school can make them. That way, each child can
take home something signed by the author whether or not they buy a
book. Ask the author about this.
Likewise, if it's a young authors' conference and the students have
written their own books, let them know that the illustrator/author
cannot sign hundreds of their books as well as her/his own.
Schedule an hour (or longer) session during which the
illustrator/author is in the library without a group. During this
time, each class, in turn, can send students with books to sign. This
gives the students the opportunity to visit with the
illustrator/author while their book is being signed and solves the
problem of a too many restless kids waiting for their turn.
an adult to help at the signing table. It's hard for the
illustrator/author to keep an eye on all the visual aids that s/he's
brought while the kids are picking them up and looking at them
will always be students who want to buy books after the
illustrator's/author's visit. Most authors will leave a few signed
bookplates for that purpose, so make sure books are still available
for sale after the event.
illustrator's/author's stated fee and do not try to negotiate a lesser
fee. Author visits are exhausting and the fee is well-earned.
need the authorís Social Security number, or an invoice, before a
school district issued check can be processed, tell the author in
advance so that the check can be ready the day of the visit.
make the illustrator/author ask to be paid. This is very
uncomfortable. Know that the author expects to be paid at the end of
the day. There is nothing worse for the author than having to say,
"Um, well, do you have my check?"
generally not a good idea to ask an author to stay in a private home.
Many illustrator/authors find it impossible to relax in someone
else's home and feel they must be entertaining when theyíd really
rather not talk to anyone after talking all day. However, it is
appropriate to verify that this is the authorís preference.
have arranged for someone to pick up the author, be sure that h/she
arrives on time. The illustrator/author will need time to catch
his/her breath and set up materials before beginning presentations for
the illustrator/author has to travel between morning and afternoon
schools, provide someone to transport him/her there, or someone to
lead him/her there so that s/he arrives on time.