My books are full of onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhyme, rythym, repetition and bright pictures full of energy and movement. So my visits always include interactive/read-aloud sessions from one or more of my books. This is usually noisy! But it's also about listening.
I also love to do workshops.
I visited St. John's Wood library where a large crowd of children and parents enjoyed an interactive reading of 'Spooky Spooky Spooky' and a very popular 'Halloween character' collage session followed by Halloween biscuits.
Click below for slideshow!
I can do either a painting/illustration workshop or a book-making workshop.
Additionally, for very short art sessions such as my library sessions I can do a simple collage workshop.
The painting workshop allows me to show the children how to emulate the illustrations in my books, which are inspired by African art and pleasingly easy for children to produce. I always do a demonstration and the children always do fantastic work!
The book-making workshop gives me the opportunity to show the story/book-making process right through - from the spark of an idea, through to rough sketches, storyboards and actual illustrations to the printed book itself. I have dummy books and print proofs etc. and all kinds of things to show the children.
The children can then produce a little book for themselves, using both words and pictures to tell their own story. They will think about a cover design and blurb for the back cover, making their storyboards into a dummy book. Some schools encourage the children to present their dummy books/story ideas to each other - like I do when I present a book idea to a publisher.
Then at the end, depending on time, there is the ever popular question and answer session.
At each visit, I usually do a book-signing, book-selling session. I will also bring along a pile of free postcards that I am happy to sign. I can bring books with me to sell if I have good notice of the date of the visit, but it is a much better idea to order books from your local independent bookseller on a 'sale or return' basis. This helps authors like me to make real sales and helps keep our lovely bookshops in business!
Visits can be tailored in length and content for different age groups from simple read-aloud sessions to full art/writing workshops. Typically in a full-day visit to a school I would do three reading/painting/Q&A session workshops, each approximately, one to one and a half hours long and a short talk if required, in assembly.
I am happy to work with children of nursery age through to Key Stage 1 and 2.
I spend most of my time sketching or painting in my studio. I also spend lots of time writing and re-writing stories at my computer. So it is a lot of fun to go out and visit the children who read my books, in their schools, or to libraries, to read my books and paint with them or to answer all their interesting questions.
With regards to the fee, I usually stick to the minimum fee specified by the Society of Authors. I am happy to travel to schools and libraries in neighbouring counties, but if I need to stay overnight or travel further afield, I will need to add travel and accommodation expenses to my fee.