As a former educator (kindergarten to college kids!), I love interacting with the next generation of readers and writers.
All visits include time for Q& A and conclude with me enthusiastically book talking new middle grade titles I’ve enjoyed. Typically, programs run 50 minutes, but I’m happy to adjust to fit your school’s schedule.
Book sales of signed copies can be coordinated with your local bookstore, my local bookstore (River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury, CT), or directly through my publishers (Charlesbridge and/or Aladdin/Simon & Schuster).
A Book is Born!
This presentation covers the basic components of my writing process as I walk students through the many phases of a book’s journey, from story concept to finished product. Topics include where story ideas come from, how to develop various story components such as plot, theme and characters traits (notebooks, charts, and mind-maps, oh my!), and the importance of research (even in fiction!). The program highlights the power of finishing a draft, the importance of critique groups, and a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing process. Comparing my editors to their teachers, I share multiple revision stages with students, from developmental edits to line edits to copy edits, helping them understand how I use one of the most important tools in the writer’s notebook: revision. Sharing images of my edited work highlights how messy the revision process can be and encourages students to acknowledge that often what they see as “the end” is only “the beginning”! We finish by discussing how determination and perseverance are key components to accomplishing any goal. Easily adjusted to suit different grade level audiences.
Empathy for the Villain: Why do they act that way??
Middle grade novels are a rich place to explore many aspects of social-emotional learning. In this presentation, students are guided to look beyond surface behavior to seek answers to why some people behave the way they do. Students will get a peek inside the backstories of the antagonists I’ve created, information that the author needs to know but doesn’t always make it onto the page! Groups will then be guided to create a rich history for their own “villain.” The goal of this presentation is to teach/remind students of the multidimensionality of all humans, and to view “problems” in a new light.
How do YOU say it?
Playing with voice allows students to deepen their understanding of the process authors go through when creating characters. In this workshop, we study characters from several middle grade novels who stand out because of their unique speaking style. Students will learn how to use dialect, idiologisms, and pacing as they combine internal character traits and external speech patterns to develop characters that leap off the page!
What to do with a Blank Page
In this program, we discuss the trepidation everyone (even published authors!) can sometimes feel at the sight of a blank page. Through interactive demonstrations and examples from my own writing life, I share tips and tricks for engaging in writing assignments with joy! After I model strategies for generating ideas, creating characters, identifying a problem, and adding sensory details, and how to show don’t tell, students will have time to apply the techniques independently to generate a piece of unique creative writing. We then participate in group share based on my own critique group structures and students return to their piece to choose a favorite sentence to polish and highlight. My goal is for every student to leave this workshop with renewed confidence in their writing ability.
The Power of Persistence
Using the main character of THE GHOST OF SPRUCE POINT as a guide, this workshop highlights the following social/emotional learning components: 1) Set and achieve positive goals, 2) Feel and show empathy for others, 3) Make responsible decisions, 4) Establish and maintain positive relationships, 5) Show a growth mindset, and 6) Understand and manage emotions. Students will be guided in the power of making decisions that will lead to achieve their own personal goals.
Have you ever said to your students, “No, you’re not done yet”? This presentation offers the nuts and bolts of the painstaking process of true revision, with several ‘real life’ examples from the author.
Note: I’m happy to tailor presentations to specific grades (my books are best suited for grades 3-7) or customize topics to fit your school’s curriculum needs. Connecting with readers while supporting teachers is my goal!
During the school year, I have a limited number of FREE 20-MINUTE VIRTUAL READING plus Q&A slots, with priority given to classrooms or book clubs that have read one of my books.
Please contact me at nancytandonauthor (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in setting up an author event.
I’d love to visit your school!