Perhaps you’ve considered inviting an author to talk to your students but are unsure what to do. Maybe a neighboring school has just brought in an author to great success and you’d like to do the same.
But how exactly do you proceed? How do you find an author who does presentations? Are these visits free (and if not, shouldn’t they be)?
Probably the most comprehensive list of authors who do school visits can be found through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Speaker’s Bureau. Here you can find authors, illustrators, and children’s book translators by region or within a certain radius from where you are. Want someone who writes for a certain age range? You can do that, too.
For example, when I entered “All” (for authors, illustrators, or translators), “New Mexico,” and the age range 5-10, I was able to find six authors and illustrators who met that criteria. Because SCBWI is an international organization, you can find speakers from every corner of the globe and many who are willing to travel.
Another way to find authors is to visit publishing websites directly. Scholastic, for example, has an Invite an Author page, where you can search a list of authors available for school and Skype visits. Here’s a similar page from Random House Children’s Books, one from Penguin, another from HarperCollins.
Author Kim Norman also hosts a blog called School Author Visits by State, where you can quickly scan lists of authors, arranged alphabetically by state, who are ready and willing to present at schools.
One final way to find an author to visit your school is to simply Google a few of your favorites. Many authors include on their websites information about school visits as well as presentations prospective schools can choose from. Here are a few examples I think are especially great:
Once you’ve booked that author, consider reading these articles filled with great advice on making your visit spectacular.
Ten Tips for a Perfect Author Visit :: Nerdy Book Club
The Authors Answer: What Made Your Best School Visits Great? :: Publisher’s Weekly Shelftalker
The Perfect Author Visit :: Dan Gutman